The Weekend Leader - Heroism Under Ground: The Remarkable Rescue of 41 from Uttarakhand's Collapsed Tunnel

Heroism Under Ground: The Remarkable Rescue of 41 from Uttarakhand's Collapsed Tunnel


Photo: IANS

In a remarkable display of courage and determination, a team of rescue workers successfully extricated 41 labourers trapped inside the collapsed Silkyara-Barkot tunnel in Uttarakhand.

This extraordinary event unfolded on Tuesday, marking a victorious end to a harrowing 400-hour ordeal. The tunnel, part of a significant infrastructure project, witnessed a disastrous collapse on November 12.

A 60-metre section on the Silkyara side caved in, trapping the workers in a 2-km completed segment of the tunnel. The rescue, led by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), was a race against time.

The breakthrough moment arrived at 7:05 pm on Tuesday. After relentless efforts, the rescue team drilled through the rubble, creating an 800-900 mm pipe tunnel to reach the trapped individuals.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami with the rescued workers (Photos: IANS)

This operation, lasting over two weeks, demanded not only physical strength but also immense mental fortitude.

The workers, who had been in darkness for nearly 17 days, were evacuated on stretchers, their faces reflecting a mix of relief and exhaustion. A temporary medical camp set up within the tunnel premises provided initial health check-ups before they were transferred to hospitals for further care.

The internet is abuzz with admiration for Australian tunneling expert Arnold Dix, who played a pivotal role in the rescue operation. His technical expertise and guidance were crucial in navigating the challenges of this complex mission.

A rescue personnel shared a heartwarming moment with news agency ANI, recounting the emotional scene as they reached the trapped workers.

"As soon as I entered, all 41 workers shouted 'NDRF ki jai ho'. They were extremely happy. It was a little difficult to enter, but we were trained very well. It took us around 1.5 hours to rescue all 41 workers," they said.

Praising the people involved with the rescue operation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Their bravery and determination have given new life to our worker brothers. Everyone involved in this mission has set an amazing example of humanity and teamwork."

Modi wrote on X, "The success of the rescue operation of our worker brothers in Uttarkashi is going to make everyone emotional. I want to say to the comrades (workers) who were trapped in the tunnel that your courage and patience will inspire everyone. I wish you all well and good health. It is a matter of great satisfaction that after a long wait, these friends of ours will now meet their loved ones. The patience and courage that all these families have shown in this challenging time cannot be appreciated enough."

This successful rescue operation stands as a testament to the bravery and skill of the NDRF, SDRF teams, and the international collaboration that turned a potential tragedy into a story of survival and hope. - TWL Bureau with inputs from IANS

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