The first three workers to be rescued were brought out on specially modified stretchers.
The first workers were pulled out from the collapsed portion of the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi after 17 days. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, Union Minister of state for road and highway, General VK Singh were present at the site of the rescue operation and greeted the first workers.
The first workers were garlanded by the Chief Minister and were greeted with sweets and hugged them in a sigh of relief. The first workers were pulled out around 8 pm and all the workers have been successfully taken out from the tunnel.
The Chief Minister and General VK Singh are present at the site and are greeting workers coming out of the tunnel one by one. Rescue officials said it will take around five to seven minutes to extract each worker.
A mining practice banned for being unsafe came to the aid of the 41 workers trapped inside an Uttarakhand tunnel after high-tech, imported machines broke down during the long-drawn operation.
Rat-hole mining to rescue the trapped workers began yesterday after a 25-tonne auger machine failed in the last leg of the challenging operation. This method of manual drilling has made quick progress and the diggers managed to reach the workers who have been confined for 17 days. They are being evacuated from the tunnel one-by-one.
The extraction process is taking time to allow each worker to re-acclimatise to surface conditions, where the temperature is around 14 degrees Celsius at this time.
The first three workers to be rescued were brought out on specially modified stretchers; these were lowered manually down a two-metre-wide pipe inserted into holes drilled into the hillside.
Personnel from the National Disaster Response Force, or NDRF, had gone down the pipe first to assess the condition of the trapped men and guide them through rescue protocols. Each worker was strapped to the stretcher that was then manually pulled up through 60 metres of rock and debris.