Industry NewsWorkforce

41 workers trapped for 17 days are rescued in India

All 41 construction workers who were trapped in a collapsed mountain tunnel in northern India for more than two weeks were pulled out on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Locals, relatives and government officials erupted in joy, set off firecrackers and shouted “Bharat Mataki Jai” — Hindi for “Long live mother India — as smiling workers began emerging from the tunnel entrance.

Nitin Gadkari, the country’s minister of road transport and highways, said in a video posted on X that he was “completely relieved and happy” after all of the workers were rescued from the Silkyara Tunnel in the northern Indian town of Uttarkashi following the 17-day ordeal.

“This was a well-coordinated effort by multiple agencies, marking one of the most significant rescue operations in recent years,” Gadkari said.

No one was seriously injured or killed when the tunnel collapsed early on the morning of Nov. 12.

Since early in their ordeal, the workers were provided with food, water and oxygen through pipes, and they emerged healthy, officials said.

They were extracted one by one on a wheeled stretcher that was pulled through a roughly yard-wide tunnel of welded pipes that crews had pushed through the collapsed dirt and rocks.

Before emerging to the cameras and crowds and being whisked away in ambulances, each worker was given a checkup at a makeshift medical camp in the tunnel entrance.

Devender, a rescuer who only gave his first name, told the New Delhi Television channel that “the trapped workers were overjoyed when they spotted us in the tunnel. Some rushed toward me and hugged me.”

The workers got trapped when a landslide caused a portion of the 2.8-mile tunnel they were building in Uttarakhand state to collapse about 650 feet from the entrance.

Kirti Panwar, a state government spokesperson, said about a dozen men had worked overnight to manually dig through rocks and debris, taking turns to drill using hand-held drilling tools and clearing out the muck in what he said was the final stretch of the rescue operation.

By Tuesday, they had drilled through more than 190 feet.

Among them was Jaimal Singh who said he was hopeful he would soon see his brother Gabbar Singh, who is trapped inside. “Even nature looks cheerful today … the weather is good. Let’s hope this ends soon,” he told the Press Trust of India news agency.

More information about the rescue can be read here

Image courtesy of Al Jazeera and is of the rescue and relief operations that had continued for the 41 workers who were trapped after the tunnel on the Brahmakal Yamunotri National Highway collapsed on 12 Nov. 12, 2023. [Harish Tyagi/EPA]

Related Articles

Back to top button