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Watch: The Moment When 41 Trapped Workers Emerged From Depths of the Mountain

The goal was to create a narrow passage so that the ones who were trapped inside could crawl or be pulled through.

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Video Producer: Divya Uppal

Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan

All 41 workers who had been trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi for more than 400 hours, were finally rescued on Tuesday evening, 28 November.

A passageway into the blocked opening of the tunnel was made earlier that day. "I am completely relieved and happy as 41 trapped labourers in the Silkyara Tunnel Collapse have been successfully rescued," Gadkari posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke to the rescued workers over the phone.

  • Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami greets a rescued worker coming out of the collapsed Silkyara Tunnel in Uttarkashi district on Tuesday, 28 November.

    (Photo: PTI)

A rescue team comprising "rat-hole miners" had begun manual drilling on Monday, 27 November, to save the workers who have been trapped in the collapsed tunnel since 12 November.

The goal of the rescue workers was to create a narrow passage so that the ones who were trapped inside could crawl or be pulled through.

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Workers To Undergo Medical Supervision

A temporary medical facility had been set up outside the tunnel so that the rescued workers could undergo a preliminary medical checkup.

"They (workers) all have come out from a different environment and condition so we will do as per the advice of the doctors...first they will be kept under medical supervision, their monitoring will be done...no one is critical," Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami said.

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'Gratitude, Salute to Rescue Workers'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed relief as the trapped workers were pulled out. "Success of tunnel rescue operation in Uttarkashi is an emotional moment for everyone," PM Modi posted on X.

"I also salute the spirit of all the people associated with this rescue operation," he added.

President Droupadi Murmu saluted the resilience of the trapped workers.

"I feel relieved and happy to learn that all the workers trapped in a tunnel in Uttarakhand have been rescued. Their travails over 17 days, as the rescue effort met with obstacles, have been a testament of human endurance," President Murmu said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also expressed his gratitude to the rescuers.

"It is great news for the nation that all our 41 Shramik brothers trapped in a tunnel in Uttarkashi have been rescued safe and sound. Nation salutes their grit in facing such a challenging situation in the tunnel for so long. My heartfelt gratitude to all the people and the agencies that have made tireless efforts to save the lives of our fellow citizens," Shah posted on X.

"The safe return of the labour brothers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel of Uttarkashi is very happy news. My heartiest congratulations to them and their families," Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, adding that those who build India are of "paramount importance."

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After being rescued, one of the workers named Vishwajeet Kumar Verma narrated their 17-day-long ordeal of being trapped inside the tunnel.

"When the debris fell, we knew that we were stuck. For the first 10-15 hours we faced difficulty. But later, a pipe was put in to provide us with rice, dal & dry fruits. Later, a mic was installed & I was able to talk to my family members...I am happy now, will celebrate Diwali now," he told news agency ANI.

Earlier in the day, Meet Chaudhary, the father of one of the trapped workers, was clinging onto hope. "I'm going to meet my only surviving son," he had said. Chaudhary lost his other son in an unfortunate incident of electrocution.

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In a Nutshell

A portion of the tunnel had collapsed in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi on 12 November, and rescue operations have been underway since.

Earlier, the rescue operations had suffered a setback on Saturday after the auger joint of the drilling machine broke inside the rescue pipes, thus blocking the passage.

A day later, the rescue team had used a plasma machine to cut the auger and expedite the rescue operation.

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