All 41 workers rescued from collapsed Indian tunnel

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All 41 construction workers have been rescued from a tunnel in India's Uttarakhand state, after being trapped for 17 days.

The evacuation of the men to safety began more than six hours after rescuers broke through to end an ordeal that began early on November 12 when the tunnel caved in.

They were pulled out on wheeled stretchers through a 90 centimetre (3 feet) wide steel pipe, with the entire process being completed in about an hour.

Ambulances with their lights flashing had earlier lined up at the mouth of the tunnel to transport the workers to a hospital about 30 km away.

During their 17-day ordeal, the men had been getting food, water, light, oxygen and medicines through a pipe but efforts to dig a tunnel to rescue them with high-powered drilling machines were frustrated by a series of snags.

The tunnel is part of the $1.5 billion Char Dham highway, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's most ambitious projects, aimed at connecting four Hindu pilgrimage sites through an 890- km network of roads.

Authorities have not said what caused the cave-in but the region is prone to landslides, earthquakes and floods.

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