The 17-day rescue operation came to fruition on Tuesday (Nov 26) as all of the 41 workers trapped inside the under- construction Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand were evacuated safely amidst hopes and prayers from millions of Indians.
The trapped workers were taken out through 57 metres (187 feet) of steel pipe on stretchers specially fitted with wheels.
Celebrations erupted and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ (Long live mother India) chants reverberated as locals distributed sweets outside Silkyara tunnel to celebrate the achievement. All of the workers were immediately brought to the temporary medical camp built in the tunnel for their initial check-up and to make them acclimatise to the temperature outside.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, who was present at the site, immediately met the workers and inquired about their health.
In the final phase of the operation, the authorities relied on the banned manual “rat- hole”-mining technique employed after high- tech machines, an American Auger drill, failed to drill through the nearly 60 metres of rock that threatened to bury the workers
Under this banned technique, labourers manually dug through the rocks over a 12- metre last stretch.
Three teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were inside the tunnel to bring out the trapped workers.