41 workers rescued after 17-day ordeal in collapsed road tunnel in India

Forty-one construction workers emerged dazed and smiling late Tuesday from a collapsed tunnel where they had been stranded the last 17 days — a happy ending to an ordeal that had gripped India and involved a massive rescue operation that overcame several setbacks.

Locals, relatives and government officials erupted in joy, set off firecrackers and shouted "Bharat Mata ki Jai" — Hindi for "Long live mother India" — as happy workers walked out after receiving a brief checkup by doctors. Officials hung garlands around their necks as the crowd cheered.

Nitin Gadkari, the country's minister of road transport and highways, said in a video posted on the social media platform X that he was "completely relieved and happy" that all of the workers were rescued from the Silkyara Tunnel in Uttarkashi, a town in India's northern state of Uttarakhand.

"This was a well-coordinated effort by multiple agencies, marking one of the most significant rescue operations in recent years," Gadkari said.

No one was seriously injured or killed when a landslide caused a section of the 4.5-kilometer (2.8-mile) tunnel about 200 meters (220 yards) from the entrance to collapse early on the morning of Nov. 12. The workers were finishing their shifts and many were likely looking forward to celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, that day.

The workers had light in the collapsed tunnel, and since early in their ordeal, they were provided with food, water and oxygen through pipes. More than a dozen doctors, including psychiatrists, were also at the site monitoring their health.

Officials said all 41 workers made it through the ordeal in good health. Before emerging to the cameras and crowds and being whisked away in ambulances, each was given a...

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