"We never lost hope," Vishal, one of the workers rescued from the Silkyara tunnel, told PTI.
All the 41 workers were rescued on Tuesday evening after 17 days of a multi-agency operation conducted by the central and state governments.
Soon after being rescued, Vishal, a resident of Himachal Pradesh's Mandi, met his family members outside the tunnel and was then taken to a hospital in an ambulance.
Ambulances which had lined up at the tunnel ferried the workers to a community health centre where a special 41-bed ward had been set up. Before this, the workers were given a quick medical checkup inside the tunnel.
Talking to PTI over the phone, Vishal said, "We never lost hope... I am absolutely fine. All of us are fine and I am thankful to everyone for evacuating us safely." On being asked how he survived the ordeal, he said, "The initial few hours were difficult because we felt suffocated. But soon after, contact was made with people outside and everything slowly became normal." All the 41 workers rescued from the tunnel have been kept under observation at a hospital in Chinyalisaur. They will likely be taken to AIIMS-Rishikesh before allowing them to go back to their homes.
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