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Miracle on day 5: Three survive 100-hr ordeal

Three people, including a one-year-old boy and a 75-year-old grandmother, were miraculously rescued on Tuesday after spending 100 hours trapped under the debris.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2003 12:44 IST

Three people, including a one-year-old boy and a 75-year-old grandmother, were miraculously rescued on Tuesday after spending 100 hours trapped under the debris.

Kunvarben, 75, was finally freed from her ordeal at 2:15 pm following a three-hour rescue operation by a Russian rescue team in Bhachau township of the state.

Kunvarben, a grandmother, was trapped under tonnes of rubble when her two-storey house was destroyed by Friday's quake.

Terrified and clearly in pain, she found the wait unbearable as the team of Russian specialists took their time to ensure there would be no further collapse when they tried to move her.

"I'm afraid in here. Get me out," she screamed as the rescuers shored up the blocks that had pinned her down for more than four days.

Bhachau was almost levelled by the quake.

Several hours earlier rescue workers in Gujarat's commercial capital Ahmedabad pulled a mother and her infant son from the rubble of a four-storey apartment block.

Niliniben Kumbhare, 25, and her one-year-old son Kayoor were brought out by a joint military and fire brigade rescue team around midday.

"It is a miracle they survived this long," said eyewitness Devendra Makwana, Deputy Municipal Commissioner of Ahmedabad.

According to Colonel Gopi Menon of India's Air Defence Artillery unit, overseeing rescue operations in the area, the mother and son "were trapped in an air pocket between a slab and a two wheeled scooter" in the apartment building's parking lot.

"This morning one of my men heard a faint scream and we realised there was somebody inside. We cut through the slab about one foot thick and pulled them out," he said.

"The baby was smiling when we got them out," Colonel Menon said.

The sophisticated detectors and sniffer dogs brought by a Swiss rescue team could detect the two underneath the collapsed pile of concrete, the colonel said.

Amazingly, the mother and child were relatively unhurt, with just minor bruises.
The two were rushed to hospital, where relatives said the mother was in a state of shock. "Niliniben was holding onto her child when they found her," said Urmilaben Bokde, a relative looking after her at the hospital.

"She is trembling all over, she is in a state of shock and not speaking," Urmilaben said.
Niliniben's husband, 37 year-old Arunbhai Kumbare, rescued on Friday and admitted in the same hospital, was overjoyed at finding his wife and son alive.

"They told me about this (finding his wife and child alive) an hour back and I was overjoyed. I had hopes for about two or three days, after that I gave up," Kumbare said. "I have asked the doctors to take me to see them on stretcher. They said they will do so in a few minutes."

First Published: Mar 06, 2003 12:44 IST