Lucknow building collapse: ‘Spent hours in dark buried under debris, toughest hours of my life’
Several of them, who got trapped under the debris after the Tuesday accident, have said that the time they had to spend before help came in keeps replaying in their head.
The mind replays what the heart can’t delete -- this famous quote by American educator Yasmin Mogahed has become a reality for survivors of the Lucknow building collapse who are struggling to leave behind -- even momentarily -- the trauma they suffered before the rescue workers brought them to safety. Several of them, who got trapped under the debris after the Tuesday accident, have said that the time they had to spend before help came in keeps replaying in their head.
“I was about to step out of the building to visit a place nearby. As I reached the lobby, the power supply suddenly went off and the very next moment, the entire building collapsed. I got trapped under the debris and had to spend about four hours in the dark with only some light passing through the rubble. These were the toughest hours of my life,” said 19-year-old Unnati, a college student who was living in the building with three other girls.
Fortunately, Unnati’s flatmates -- Kriti, Shiksha, and Asha -- had left the building moments before the collapse. “I could hear peoples’ voice, vehicles blaring horns, and sound of the drill being used by the rescue workers,” recalled Unnati, who is undergoing treatment at King George’s Medical University Trauma Centre.
However, like several other survivors, Unnati too has praised the swift rescue operations. “The rescue team sensibly made a hole by cutting alongside the wall and took me out. I only sustained bruises in the process. Had they (rescuers) touched the ceiling and made a hole there, it would have fallen upon me,” added Unnati.
Recounting a similar experience, 32-year-old Afreen Fatima, who had to patiently wait for hours before rescue workers got her out, said, “It was just like getting buried. Somehow, I managed to make a call and alert people about my location. This helped rescuers find me.”
Another collapse survivor, 58-year-old Ranjana Awasthy, said, “It all happened so quickly that I could not even understand what exactly happened. I felt as if the land beneath me disappeared suddenly. We came down helplessly.” She is admitted to the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital.
Sharing a similar trauma, 50-year-old Nasreen, who is also admitted to the Civil Hospital, said, “The sudden massive jolt lasted for just a few seconds and by the end of it, we were all covered in dust. It was a horrifying moment.”