Silkyara, India, Nov. 28 (Reuters) – Indian rescuers rescued the first of 41 construction workers trapped in a collapsed tunnel in the Himalayas on Tuesday after 17 days of digging through rubble of rock, concrete and earth. Officials said.
Rescuers spent more than six hours evacuating people to safety to end the ordeal that began when the tunnel collapsed early on November 12.
“The first one is out,” a rescue official told reporters outside the 4.5 km (3 mi) tunnel in the northern state of Uttarakhand.
Flashing ambulances lined up at the entrance of the tunnel to take the workers to a hospital about 30 km away.
The men have been receiving food, water, light, oxygen and medicine by tube, but efforts to dig tunnels to rescue them with high-powered drilling machines have been frustrated by continued trouble.
The tunnel is part of the $1.5 billion Char Dham Expressway, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most ambitious projects, which aims to connect four Hindu pilgrimage sites through an 890-km network of roads.
Officials did not say what caused the cave-in, but the area is prone to landslides, earthquakes and floods.
Written by YP Rajesh; Editing by Angus MacSwan
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