Rescuers in Bangladesh have found a survivor in the rubble of a clothing factory that collapsed 17 days ago
May 10, 2013
Bangladeshi television channels broadcast live footage of emergency service workers pulling the woman out from the debris, as onlookers burst into cheers.
The woman, called Reshma, was discovered on the second floor of the eight-storey Rana Plaza building in the capital Dhaka, where crews had been focusing on recovering bodies, not rescuing survivors, for much of the past two weeks. She told a TV company from her hospital bed:
"I heard voices of the rescue workers for the past several days. I kept hitting the wreckage with sticks and rods just to attract their attention. No one heard me. It was so bad for me. I never dreamed I’d see the daylight again. There was some dried food around me. I ate the dried food for 15 days. The last two days I had nothing but water. I used to drink only a limited quantity of water to save it. I had some bottles of water around me."
She was discovered in the wreckage of a Muslim prayer room in the building and army officials immediately ordered the cranes and bulldozers to stop work. Once Reshma finally got their attention, the crews ordered the cranes and bulldozers to immediately stop work and used handsaws and welding and drilling equipment to cut through the iron rod and debris still trapping her.
They gave her water, oxygen and saline as they worked to free her, using handsaws to cut through the rubble, as hundreds of people who had been engaged in the grim job of removing decomposing bodies from the site, raised their hands together in prayer.
"Allah, you are the greatest, you can do anything. Please allow us all to rescue the survivor just found," said a man on a loudspeaker leading the prayers. "We seek apology for our sins. Please pardon us, pardon the person found alive."
Abdur Razzak, a warrant officer with the military’s engineering department who first spotted her in the wreckage, said she was in a remarkably good condition and could even walk.
Reshma told her rescuers there were no more survivors in her area. Workers began tearing through the nearby rubble anyway, hoping to find another person alive.