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Trapped victim sends SMS for help

world Updated: Oct 04, 2009 00:30 IST

An earthquake survivor trapped in a collapsed hotel in western Indonesia sent a text message saying he and some others were alive, triggering a frantic rescue operation on Saturday.

Padang’s police chief said voices and claps were heard from survivors buried in the Ambacang Hotel since Wednesday’s 7.6-magnitude quake, which killed at least 715 people.

“We estimate there are still 8 people trapped alive under Ambacang Hotel,” Col Boy Rafli Amar told reporters.

He said one survivor, who had been staying in Room 338 of the hotel, sent a text message to relatives on Friday, saying he and some others are still alive. The relatives then informed the authorities, he said.

As he spoke, rescuers used earth-moving equipment, backhoes and drills to try and break a passage through thick slabs of concrete of the six-story hotel.