'I Never Dreamed I'd See Daylight Again'

How a woman survived 17 days under factory rubble in Bangladesh

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 10, 2013 2:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – When the factory came crashing down around her, seamstress Reshma Begum ran from the second floor, where she was working, to a Muslim prayer room in the basement. When the rubble had stopped falling she found herself alive and miraculously uninjured, but trapped in a wide pocket of open space. Now, after 17 days, she's free to tell her incredible story, the AP reports. "I never dreamed I'd see daylight again," she told a Bangladesh TV station.

Debris fell so close to Begum that it trapped her hair, until she used a sharp object to cut it off. She found nearby stores of dried food and bottled water, both of which she carefully rationed despite the more than 90-degree heat. "The last two days, I had nothing but water," she recalls. She could hear rescue workers above her, and for days tried to get their attention, finally succeeding by banging a steel pipe against the wreckage. Crews had to use welding and drilling equipment to remove the remaining debris trapping her. "We lifted her together with our hands," a rescuer says. "She was baffled as rescuers outside shouted, 'God is great.'"

Survivor Reshma Begum lies on a stretcher after being pulled out from the rubble of a building that collapsed in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 10, 2013.
Survivor Reshma Begum lies on a stretcher after being pulled out from the rubble of a building that collapsed in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 10, 2013.   (AP Photo)
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