The Air Force's Chinook helicopter will not be flown at night due to poor weather conditions.
The Air Force has stationed a Chinook helicopter - a twin-rotor heavy-lift chopper - at the airstrip in Uttarakhand's Chinyalisaur, where an emergency medical centre has been set up to treat the 41 workers trapped underground in the Silkyara tunnel.
The chopper can be used in case any of the rescued workers need urgent medical aid; they can be airlifted either from the tunnel site to the Chinyalisaur hospital (a distance of 30 km) or flown to the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rishikesh (a distance of around 160 km).
However, the IAF helicopter is understood to be a back-up option.
Forty-one ambulances are on standby at the site of the tunnel collapse - one for each worker - to bring them to the Chinyalisaur hospital by road; local police will organise a 'green corridor' to ensure each ambulance reaches the hospital as quickly as possible. A makeshift medical centre has also been set up - at the mouth of the collapsed tunnel - to provide first aid and emergency care.
READ | Uttarakhand Tunnel Rescue Anytime, Hospital, Chopper On Standby: 10 Facts
The helicopter, though, will not be flown today. Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain (retd.), a member of the National Disaster Management Authority, said "we will not fly it during the night".
"Chinook helicopter is at Chinyalisaur airstrip... (but) the last time to fly the Chinook is 4.30 pm. We will not fly at night. Since there is a delay (in the rescue process), the workers will be brought the next morning," he said, "... if it is an urgent situation, at night one or two ambulances can be sent."
The NDMA member stressed that adequate medical arrangements had been made at Chinyalisaur.
"A 30-bed facility is ready at the district hospital and a 10-bed facility is ready nearby. The Chinook can fly at night but the weather is not favourable... and there is no urgency as such," he explained.
Late Tuesday night there was jubilation after the trapped workers were pulled out from their underground prison.
READ | How Rat-Hole Mining, Outlawed, Saved 41 Trapped In Uttarkashi Tunnel
Officials told NDTV National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and emergency medical personnel with stretchers have taken over the rescue op, and have begun to work their way into the collapsed cavern.
The rescue plan hinged on a single NDRF personnel crawling down a two-metre-wide pipe to assess the condition of the trapped men and begin the process of bringing them out.
The workers were brought out one-by-one on a specially-modified stretcher that was pushed down the pipe and pulled up manually. A temp medical centre has been set up where each man will be examined and given first aid, if needed, before they are prepped for transport in the ambulances.
Located 30 km from Uttarkashi and 139 km drive from state capital Dehradun, the Silkyara tunnel is an integral part of the centre's ambitious (and controversial) Char Dham all-weather road project.
With input from agencies
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