Teenager rescued from rubble five days after Nepal quake
A long-absent noise, cheers, rang out in Nepal's capital yesterday as rescuers pulled a teenager alive from the earthquake rubble he had been trapped in for five days. The joy interrupted a dreary and still fearful day in which thousands worried about aftershocks lined up to board free buses to their rural hometowns.
Hundreds cheered as the 18-year-old, identified by police as Pemba Tamang, was pulled out of the wreckage, dazed and dusty, and carried away on a stretcher. He had been trapped under the collapsed debris of a seven-storey building in Kathmandu since Saturday, when the magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck.
Nepalese rescuers, supported by an American disaster response team, had been working for hours to free him. L.B. Basnet, the police officer who crawled into a gap to reach Tamang, said he was surprisingly responsive.
"He thanked me when I first approached him," said Basnet. "He told me his name, his address, and I gave him some water. I assured him we were near to him."
When Tamang was lifted out, his face was covered in dust, and medics had put an IV drop into his arm. A blue brace had been placed around his neck. He appeared stunned, and his eyes blinked in the sunlight as workers hurriedly carried him away.
The jubilant scene was welcome on a drizzly, chilly day in Kathmandu where many residents remained on edge over aftershocks that have rattled the city since Saturday's mammoth quake killed more than 5,500 people and destroyed thousands of houses and other buildings.
More than 70 aftershocks stronger than magnitude 3.2 have been recorded in the Himalayan region by Indian scientists over the past five days, according to J.L. Gautam, the director of seismology at the Indian Meteorological Department in New Delhi. The strongest, registering magnitude 6.9, came on Sunday, he said.