workers trapped in the tunnel were rescued

The Head of State of Uttarakhand greets a worker rescued from the site of a collapsed road tunnel in Silkyara.Base

Workers have been trapped in the road tunnel since it collapsed on November 12. Draped in celebratory garlands of orange flowers, the crowd applauded their departure.

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Engaged in a virtual race against time, Indian rescue teams on Tuesday rescued 41 workers trapped for 17 days in the collapsed Silkyara tunnel, where ambulances had left the site's entrance.

Worker exit in video:

“I am very relieved and happy that 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel collapse have been rescued”

Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari

The minister praised the coordinated efforts that made possible one of the most significant rescue operations in recent years.

The path to rescue

A steel pipe wide enough to allow human passage “is installed up to 52 meters inside the tunnel, and the pipe will penetrate (the debris) at a depth of 57 meters (…) The rescue operation must be completed immediately,” said the Head of Uttarakhand State . Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has told reporters.

After repeated setbacks, military engineers and miners worked manually to break through rock and rubble to free the final stretch and reach the people who had been imprisoned for 17 days.

A team of three people took turns digging and inserting the final section of steel tube wide enough to allow one person to pass through, and allowing the workers to evacuate.

epa10996300 Heavy equipment, rescue workers and experts gather inside a collapsed tunnel, in Uttarkashi, India, November 26, 2023. Rescue and relief operations continue for 41 workers who...

Rescue teams are in action.Base

While one was digging, the second removed the debris by hand and the third loaded it into a cart which then reached the exit, explained Rajput Rai, a drilling expert, quoted by the Press Trust of India.

Damage and falling debris

The men also had to cut through metal bars that were blocking their progress.

Since the tunnel collapsed on November 12, rescue efforts have been complicated and slowed by falling debris and successive failures in drills, critical machines for rescuing workers.

The people were able to survive for more than two weeks thanks to the delivery of air, food, water and electricity through a tube through which the endoscopic camera was inserted. These cameras allowed their families to see them last week, for the first time since the tunnel collapsed.

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.(ats )

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