In a significant rescue operation, the Indian Air Force's Chinook helicopter was deployed to transport 41 laborers from a collapsed tunnel to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rishikesh. The laborers had been trapped for 17 days in the Silkyara-Dindalgaon tunnel, part of the Centre's ambitious Char Dham project, which collapsed due to a landslide on November 12.
Rescue Operation Culminates
The laborers, who were rescued from the tunnel on Tuesday evening, had been initially taken to a makeshift hospital in Chinyalisaur. The decision to airlift them to AIIMS was taken as a precautionary measure for faster and more effective medical tests. The workers were greeted with wild cheers and flower garlands, and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Dhami was present at the spot to welcome them.
A Test of Endurance and Hope
All 41 men, low-wage workers from some of India's poorest states, endured 17 days of being trapped within the rubbles and debris of the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi. Their ordeal underscores the human endurance and hope amidst extreme adversities. Doctors at AIIMS will now ascertain whether any of them suffered any trauma or infections during their ordeal.
Significance of the Operation
The use of the Chinook, a heavy-lift helicopter, indicates the seriousness of the situation and the need for rapid medical evacuation. The incident underscores the capability of the Indian Air Force in conducting rescue missions and the importance of having advanced medical infrastructure accessible in times of emergencies. Moreover, it highlights the potential risks associated with ambitious infrastructure projects like the Char Dham highway.