In India, 41 workers trapped in a tunnel for 17 days are rescued – Liberation

Blocked in a collapsed tunnel in the north of the country, workers were able to get out on Tuesday, November 28. They have been trapped since November 12.

The end of more than two weeks of hell. Indian rescue teams have successfully extricated 41 workers trapped for 17 days in a collapsed road tunnel in northern India, a minister announced on Tuesday, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced on Tuesday, November 28.

“I am very relieved and happy that 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel collapse have been rescued”, he said in a press release. Before greeting “well-coordinated effort” after allowing “one of the most important rescue operations in recent years”.

The rescued people wore orange wreaths in celebration as they were greeted by state officials, according to government photos. The crowd applauded as they emerged from the tunnel while emergency vehicles, with lights on, prepared to leave the entrance to the site, where workers have been trapped since the partial collapse of a building under construction in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand on November 12. .

57 meter hose

After repeated setbacks, military engineers and miners worked manually to push through rock and rubble to clear the final stretch and reach the trapped people. Teams of three took turns digging and inserting the final section of steel tube, wide enough to allow one person to pass through and allow workers to evacuate. The people were then pulled through a 57 meter long pipe on a special stretcher equipped with wheels.

Since the tunnel collapse, rescue efforts have been complicated and slowed by falling debris and successive breakdowns of drills, machinery crucial to rescuing workers. Other vertical drilling has also begun on a wooded hilltop overlooking the tunnel, a complex excavation operation above workers in an area that has experienced collapse.

The workers have survived for more than two weeks thanks to the delivery of air, food, water and electricity through a channel through which an endoscopic camera is inserted. This camera allowed their family to see them last week, for the first time. They were trapped in a tunnel measuring 8.5 meters high and about two kilometers long.

The Silkyara Tunnel is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cherished Char Dham highway project, designed to improve connections with four of the country’s most important Hindu sites and also with China’s border regions.

Updated at 16:55: adding context.

Serena Hoyles

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