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Girl digs with hands to rescue family in China

world Updated: Aug 14, 2010 09:20 IST

Tired and injured, an 18-year-old girl braved inclement weather and dug with her bare hands for three days in a vain attempt to rescue her family members burried under mudslides in northwest China.

Rescuers found her in a chest-deep mud hole on Sunday in Beijie village of Zhouqu county, after a massive mudslide hit the community.

But Zeng didn't give up the search for her parents, though she was badly hurt. Her aunt had to drag her to a makeshift hospital Wednesday, three days after the disaster, reports Xinhua.

"I really wanted to see my parents for the last time, but my leg was hurting me, and I couldn't walk on my own," she said.
Her parents and brother were killed, and she had to undergo a surgery to remove dead muscles from her left leg.

"I saw sludge burying my father. He pushed me away as the mud crashed down on us. I was saved by that push," said Zeng, who rushed to her parents' bedroom.

Zeng battled to pull him out, and as she grabbed his clothes more mud filled the place, burying him completely.

"The mud piled as high as my chest, and for a moment, I wished I could die, so I could be with my parents. But somehow I survived," she said.

Dragging her swollen leg, she begged for help.

Her brother's body was the first to be dug out by Sunday afternoon. He was coming down a flight of stairs when the mudslide hit their home.

"I didn't cry. But the moment I saw my brother's body, I couldn't help crying," she said.

His body was placed temporarily at the square in front of a government building, where she spent the night praying beside his body.

Zhouqu county sits on the steep Bailong river valley and is hemmed in by rocky mountains on both sides.

Heavy rains Saturday night triggered an avalanche of sludge and debris, crashing down on the county seat of Zhouqu in the morning, ripping off houses from their foundations and tearing multi-storey apartment buildings in half.