TIRUCHY: The one question that has been nagging everyone following the Tiruchirappalli borewell accident is why did it take so long to drill the hole that would take rescuers to Sujith Wilson -- even 80 hours after the incident.
Despite deploying various machines and improvising plans several times, officials are unable to pinpoint a time frame within which the task would be completed. The first rig drilled up to 30-35 feet before it was replaced by a second one around12.30 am on Monday but could only drill about 7 feet in 8 hours, which means another 55 feet needs to be dug to reach the boy.
"We have deployed all machines that are used for heavy drilling. But the rocks are so hard that even the best machines are taking too long to penetrate,” Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said.
Experts, however, pointed out that drilling machines take longer than borewell drills, as the former carved out a bigger circumference. “Drilling machines are blunt and have a large circumference whereas borewell drills are sharp and small in size which makes them penetrate the surface easier”, Daniel, an expert in the field said.
He was proven right when a borewell drilling machine brought from Karur paved way for the rig to drill faster. The boring machine was brought to dig five smaller holes over two to three hours up to 65 feet. This ended around 3 pm, after which the rigs over and reached 50 feet by 8 pm.
Geologists present to guide the drilling work?
According to sources, geologists arrived only on Sunday afternoon. A “ We are yet to know the nature of soil below 60 feet. If it is any softer than what is on the top, it will speed up the works. We are using experienced workers who are experts in chipping method,” a senior official involved in the rescue mission said. The officials also clarified that the drill bits do not require regular sharpening.
Despite rescue works continuing at a slow pace, thousands of people continued to hope and wait to see Sujith brought out in reasonable health.