All 41 men trapped underground in a tunnel in Silkyara, Uttarakhand, were rescued late Tuesday, beginning the last stages of a frantic 17-day multi-agency operation that depended, in the end, on the banned manual “rat-hole” mining technique used after high-tech machines, or augers, failed to drill through the nearly 60 meters of rock that has threatened to bury the workers.
It took some time for each worker to re-acclimate to the surface conditions during the extraction procedure because the temperature there is currently about 14 degrees Celsius.
The laborers were hoisted out on stretchers that had been specially made, and they were manually lowered down a two-meter-wide pipe that had been bored into the hillside. Pushkar Singh Dhami, the chief minister of Uttarakhand, was present and gave the workers hugs as they left.
In a post on X, the Chief Minister said that the work of evacuating the workers was onoing. “Initial health checkup of all the workers is being done in the temporary medical camp built in the tunnel,” he stated.
सिलक्यारा टनल में फँसे श्रमिकों को सुरक्षित बाहर निकालने हेतु गत 17 दिनों से अथक परिश्रम के साथ लगे बचाव दल के सदस्यों से भेंट कर उनका धन्यवाद व्यक्त किया।
केंद्रीय एजेंसियों, सेना एवं प्रदेश प्रशासन की टीमों के बेहतरीन समन्वय एवं आप सभी के समर्पण भाव से ही असंभव सा प्रतीत होने… pic.twitter.com/JK10COJlJf
— Pushkar Singh Dhami (@pushkardhami) November 28, 2023
According to a news agency ANI report, residents gave out sweets outside the Silkyara tunnel to celebrate the workers’ safe departure. In response to the operation’s success, one of the workers’ families expressed that he was “feeling very good”.