UTTARKASHI, India (AP) — 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.
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