Rescuers after the success of the operations. CM Dhami greeting rescued workers as they come out of the tunnel. (Images: PTI)
Uttarkashi Tunnel: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the rescued workers over the phone and enquired about their well-being
Large-scale celebrations were kicked off after the 41 trapped workers were rescued from the collapsed part of Uttarkashi’s Silkyara tunnel on Tuesday night. The multi-agency rescue operation concluded successfully after 17 days of continuous efforts and hard work.
The pipes were pushed inside the tunnel once the final stretch of debris was cleared by rat-miners, who were called to the site after the auger machine — stuck in the debris — was cut out using plasma cutters.
The rescued workers are currently recuperating at the Chinyalisaur Hospital, which is nearly 30 kms away from the tunnel site. Workers would undergo extensive medical examination at the health centre and would be kept under observation. All of them would be discharged from the hospital only after they are stabilised and given a go ahead by the doctors.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the rescuers- and said that their “bravery and determination have given new life to our labour brothers”.
He also appreciated that the courage with which the trapped workers survive through these 17 days. The prime minister said, “I want to say to the friends who were trapped in the tunnel that your courage and patience is inspiring everyone. I wish you all well and good health.”
उत्तरकाशी में हमारे श्रमिक भाइयों के रेस्क्यू ऑपरेशन की सफलता हर किसी को भावुक कर देने वाली है।टनल में जो साथी फंसे हुए थे, उनसे मैं कहना चाहता हूं कि आपका साहस और धैर्य हर किसी को प्रेरित कर रहा है। मैं आप सभी की कुशलता और उत्तम स्वास्थ्य की कामना करता हूं।
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 28, 2023
Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami greeted the rescued workers as they came out of the tunnel and expressed his joy at the success of the operations.
श्रमिकों व उनके परिजनों के चेहरे की ख़ुशी ही मेरे लिये इगास-बगवाल..हम सभी के लिए अत्यंत हर्ष का विषय है कि सिलक्यारा (उत्तरकाशी) में निर्माणाधीन टनल में फंसे सभी 41 श्रमिकों को सकुशल बाहर निकाल लिया गया है। सभी श्रमिक भाइयों का अस्थाई मेडिकल कैम्प में प्रारंभिक स्वास्थ्य… pic.twitter.com/iaBZ5RorK3
— Pushkar Singh Dhami (@pushkardhami) November 28, 2023
- The intense rescue operation, clocking over 400 hours, successfully came to end on Tuesday night as the 41 trapped workers were brought out from the collapsed portion of the Silkyara tunnel. On the last day, rat-hole mining technique was used to dig through the final stretch of the rubble.
- The wielded pipes were pushed in once the debris was cleared, following which NDRF and SDRF teams entered the steel chute and brought out the workers one-by-one on wheeled stretchers.
- Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami expressed his joy after the success of the rescue mission and also extended his gratitude towards the several agencies and officials engaged in the rescue operations. He said that the prime minister provided every possible help to the operations, calling it the “main basis for the success of this campaign”.
- After being rescued the workers were taken to a makeshift community health centre in the ambulances, which were ready at the site since the breakthrough was achieved. However, immediately after getting out of the tunnel, the workers were given a quick check up before being transported to the health centre.
- Local residents were seen distributing sweets, while many kins and relatives of the workers were overwhelmed and emotional as they were reunited with their loved ones after days of despair.
- Lt Gen (Rtd) Syed Ata Hasnain, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), also said that an Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper — Chinook — was keot on standby at the Chinyalisaur district, if any of the workers required to be air-lifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Rishikesh.
- On the 16th day of operations, rescuers had vertically drilled 36 metres into the hill from above the tunnel as two teams of seven and five men, experts of rat-hole mining technique, were called to the site for manual drilling and horizontal excavation through the last stretch of the debris. Officials involved in the operations said that all the options would be kept open till all of the workers are brought out safely.
- Previously the auger machine, which was drilling through the rubble, got stuck as it hit some metal inside the tunnel. Following this, the blades of the auger machine had to be manually cut out using plasma cutters for the operations to move forward in the horizontal direction.
- The first visuals of the trapped workers from inside the under-construction Silkyara tunnel surfaced on November 21 as the rescue operations were underway to rescue them. An endoscopic camera was sent into the tunnel to check up on the workers. The workers had appeared to be safe and sound in the visuals.
- Several hurdles and snags led to the operations and the drilling to stop several times. The efforts involving multiple agencies, officials and even International tunneling expert Arnold Dix and micro-tunneling expert Chris Cooper, saw the usage of several machines and technology before finally rescuing the workers.