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New Delhi:

As many as 17 labourers, who were stranded in the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand for 41 days, were greeted with loud cheers and flower garlands as rescuers pulled them out on Tuesday evening. State officials, including CM Dhami, welcomed them as heroes. Narrating the incident, a labourer said he was on his way home when the tunnel suddenly collapsed. Akhilesh Singh, who was trapped in the tunnel, told NDTV, "The tunnel collapsed in front of me and there was a loud noise after which my ears were closed."

"For 18 hours, we had no contact with the outside world. As per our training, we opened the water pipe immediately after getting trapped. When the water started falling, people outside realised that people were trapped inside and started sending us oxygen through pipes."

Akhilesh, a worker who came out of the tunnel, said food was sent to the workers when they managed to put a steel pipe through the debris. They were sent so much food in the tunnel that there is still enough inside for 25 days. He said that now he wants to go home and rest for at least 1-2 months.