Tunnelling expert Arnold Dix expressed gratitude for the safe rescue operation.
Two days after relentless hard work, labour, and heartfelt prayers brought the 41 trapped men out of the Silkayara tunnel site in Uttarkashi, international tunnelling expert Arnold Dix appreciated the efforts of the rescue teams and said that the outcome would not have been possible without the cooperation of the national agencies.
Having cooperated and stayed in touch with the agencies throughout the rescue period, tunnelling expert Mr Dix said, "If they (National agencies) hadn't cooperated the way they did, there's no way we would have got this outcome. We were all one big team. 41 men, home safe, no one hurt, perfect."
Arnold Dix also expressed gaiety at the successful rescue operation of all the workers trapped at the site and said, "I feel fantastic. I feel content. I am not in a rush to go anywhere. I am just feeling very relaxed and happy. I just traveled with the men who were rescued, and I am delighted."
Meanwhile, all 41 workers rescued from the collapse site at Uttarkashi arrived at the Delhi airport on Thursday to head back to their families, all safe and healthy.
Rescued worker Gabbar Singh Negi spoke to ANI about the initial occurrence of the collapse incident and recalled the mishap, saying, "At first, when we got to know that this incident had happened, we were working at the front, and work was going on. It was morning around 5 am."
"We had lost all our communication. Somehow, a worker contacted me on wireless and said that this kind of incident had happened. We thought it wasn't a big issue at first. However, when we went and looked, we saw that the whole way was closed," he added.
He further expressed gratitude for the safe rescue operation and said, "Uttarakhand is Devbhoomi, and the whole country has prayed for us all these days. It is because of the prayers and wishes of all our countrymen that today I stand before you all, safe and sound."
Another rescued worker also spoke about the mishap and recalled, "At first, we were very worried. We started receiving food after 12 hours (inside the tunnel). I am all okay now. I would like to thank the government."
Earlier, on Wednesday, the workers rescued from the Silkyara tunnel were brought to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Rishikesh, for further medical examination.
On November 12, a section of the tunnel, between 205 and 260 metres from the Silkyara side, collapsed. The workers, who were beyond the 260-metre mark at the time, were trapped, with their exit blocked.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said on Thursday that the people in India and across the world were praying to God for the success in the rescue operation in Uttarkashi's Silkyara tunnel where 41 workers got trapped adding that the rescuers received God's blessings to carry out the successful operation.
Following their safe evacuation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also praised the courage and patience of the trapped workers and their families, as well as the bravery and determination of the rescue personnel.
PM Modi said everyone involved in the rescue mission set an example of humanity and teamwork.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)