"Made Playing Cards Out Of Diary Pages To Kill Time": Rescued Worker Exclusive

41 workers were trapped after a section of the Uttarakhand tunnel collapsed on November 12.

New Delhi:

The 41 workers evacuated from Uttarakhand's Silkyara tunnel after over two weeks killed time by playing childhood games and taking walks, a rescued worker told NDTV on Friday. 

Ankit, a resident of Motipur in Uttar Pradesh's Shravasti district, also spoke about the 17 days he spent inside the collapse tunnel and called it a "near-death experience".

"I was worried about my family as we were not able to talk to them. I kept thinking if they were fine," he said.

As the tunnel was long, we used to take walks inside to pass the time, the rescued worker said.

"We used to play childhood games like Raja, Mantri, Chor, Sipahi to pass the time," Ankit told NDTV, adding that they also made a card game using a pen and diary.

When asked about the temperature, he said that it was not much cold inside the tunnel.

He also said that the workers slept on geotextiles, which are synthetic textile fabric materials used for infrastructural work.

"We also used geotextiles as blankets while sleeping," Ankit said.

After their rescue on Tuesday, NDTV accessed images and videos of the 17 days they spent inside the collapsed tunnel.

Videos show piles of fruits, more than they could consume, and plastic bottles that appear to be taped up. These were pushed into the tunnel through a pipe. The bottles were used to provide dry fruits and hot khichdi to the trapped workers.In photos, the workers can be seen enjoying meals including roti, vegetables, and rice. 

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They are also seen gathered around foil-wrapped packages, or consuming bread and milk.

The workers are seen in selfies and pictures with the collapsed tunnel in the background.

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41 men were trapped after a section of the tunnel collapsed on November 12 and were evacuated on November 28 after a multi-agency rescue operation that came to fruition after rat-hole miners dug a hole through.

They were extricated using 57 metres of steel pipe on stretchers fitted with wheels.