Rescued tunnel worker says ‘first day was scary, spent most time by…’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Rescued Uttarkashi tunnel worker recounts experience: ‘Spent most time sleeping’

Dec 01, 2023 02:43 PM IST

The workers were trapped for 17 days after a part of the under-construction tunnel collapsed on November 12.

After nearly 422 hours of being trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi, all 41 workers were safely rescued on Tuesday evening. All the victims have now reached their homes after thorough medical check ups.

Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Rescued tunnel worker
Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Rescued tunnel worker

One of the workers, identified as Vishal Kumar - hailing from Himachal Pradesh - narrated his experience of being stuck inside the tunnel for 17 days. “The first 24 hours were extremely difficult and scary for all of us…We did not know if anyone knew we were stuck or if anyone was coming to help us…A lot of thoughts were running through our heads,” he told news agency ANI.

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Also read: Rescued worker's ‘thumbs up’ after coming out of Uttarkashi tunnel. Watch

“We spent most of our time sleeping and talking. We did not know it would take so much time…Thought it would take a maximum of five or ten days to get us out,” he added.

Thanking the authorities, Kumar said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami supported them a lot. He added that the rest of the NDRF and SDRF teams were constantly working and talking to them.

“We were given all kinds of facilities. They were carefully sending us food and other requirements through the pipe as we had only one way to get oxygen,” Kumar said.

The workers were trapped for 17 days after a part of the under-construction tunnel collapsed on November 12. The rescue operation was expected to be straightforward and last only a couple of days, however, a series of technical setbacks led to its delay. During the final stretch of the evacuation, around a dozen rescuers took turns digging through rocks and debris overnight Monday into Tuesday using hand-held drilling tools after the auger machine broke down.

After being pulled out, the 41 workers were initially kept under medical observation at a hospital in Chinyalisaur, and later brought to AIIMS-Rishikesh for further check-ups. After two days of keeping under observation, the AIIMS on Thursday night said that all the workers were healthy and could go home.

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