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Incredible Rescue Mission in India: 41 Workers Trapped in Collapsed Tunnel Rescued

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Dil Bar Irshad
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Incredible Rescue Mission in India: 41 Workers Trapped in Collapsed Tunnel Rescued

In a testament to human endurance and the power of collective effort, 41 workers trapped for 17 days in a partially collapsed highway tunnel in Uttarakhand, northern India, have been successfully rescued. The workers, trapped since November 12 following a landslide, have been the focus of an intense rescue mission that finally saw a breakthrough with the completion of a narrow, hand-dug tunnel.

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Rescue Mission: A Test of Patience and Persistence

The rescue operation faced numerous challenges, from machinery failure to the physical constraints of the collapsed tunnel. After a drilling machine failed to make headway, rescuers resorted to hand tools, carving a rescue tunnel of approximately 90 centimeters in diameter. The workers, who were involved in the construction of a major road project along a Hindu pilgrimage route, had decided amongst themselves that the youngest would be evacuated first, while the team leaders would be the last to leave.

A Lifeline: Essentials and Communication

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During the ordeal, the trapped workers received essentials such as food, water, oxygen, and medicine through a network of tight tubes. A telephone line was also established to maintain contact with their families, providing both a lifeline and a source of emotional support. The workers were hired by a Hyderabad-based engineering firm contracted by the Indian government to work on the 2.8-mile tunnel at Silkyara, a remote village in the Himalayas.

The Final Push and Jubilant Success

After 17 days of relentless efforts by Indian agencies and international experts, the rescue mission culminated in the evacuation of all 41 workers. The final phase of the delicate operation was completed in about an hour. The successful rescue triggered nationwide jubilation, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing his emotion at the successful rescue. The tunnel the workers were constructing is part of the $1.5-billion Char Dham highway— an ambitious project by Prime Minister Modi aiming to connect four Hindu pilgrimage sites through an 890-km network of roads. As the workers emerged from the collapsed tunnel, they were greeted with cheers, marking the end of their incredible ordeal.

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