All 41 miners who were trapped inside a collapsed tunnel in northern India for 17 days were finally rescued on Tuesday.
The incident began on Nov. 12
in Uttarakhand, a northern Indian
state in the Himalayas, when the $1.5 billion highway project the miners were working on suddenly collapsed, trapping them inside. While authorities did not reveal the cause of the accident, it is believed to have been caused by a landslide.
How they survived:
The trapped miners received
food, water and oxygen via the 53-meter (173-foot) pipe inserted through the blocked tunnel at the site. Doctors also provided moral support to the miners, including giving them tips on how to remain positive and calm.
How they were rescued: Rescuers initially used several augur machines to drill an escape route for the trapped miners, but after they broke down on Friday, they called in a group of workers known as “rat miners” who used handheld tools to dig further.
The rat miners began their work
on Monday and dug through the remaining 15 meters (49.2 feet) to where the miners were. After over 24 hours of tireless work, the rat miners eventually reached the trapped 41 miners inside, thus ending the 17-day rescue operation on Tuesday.
The aftermath: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, who welcomed the trapped miners, confirmed at a press conference on Tuesday evening that the rescued miners appeared healthy and noted that they all chose to crawl outside the collapsed tunnel instead of using the stretchers. Dhami added that they would follow a doctor’s orders and monitor the rescued workers first.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the rescuers for their effort in saving the trapped miners in a post on X on Tuesday.
What’s next: Aside from a 100,000 rupees ($1,200) compensation for each miner, Dhami also noted that they will request the miners’ employer to allow them to “go home and spend time with their families for 15 days, 20 days or 1 month.”