Nepal Miracle: Singing, Dazed Teen Rescued After 5 Days

Man, 18, was dehydrated but otherwise uninjured
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2015 7:04 AM CDT
Nepal Miracle: Singing, Dazed Teen Rescued After 5 Days
Nepal policemen and US rescue workers prepare to pull out Pemba Tamang, a teenager, from the rubble of a building five days after the earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Thursday, April 30, 2015.   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

(Newser) – Finally, a glimmer of good news is emerging from the grim in Nepal as the quake's death toll tops 5,500, USA Today reports. Jubilant rescuers pulled an 18-year-old man from the remains of a Kathmandu building today, five days after it collapsed around him, the AP reports. While digging through rubble, American and Nepalese rescuers heard a shout, then worked for hours to free the teen, identified variously as Pemba Tamang and Pemba Lama, who was sandwiched between concrete slabs that once held up two floors; twisted steel alone kept them from crushing him. "He thanked me when I first approached him," says a worker, who crawled through a hole before Tamang could be freed. Tamang also began singing, "You are a god who has come to me to try to save me," the worker says, per the Los Angeles Times. "I gave him some water. I assured him we were near to him."

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The concrete was eventually lifted with jacks, and crowds cheered as Tamang was removed on a stretcher, put in a neck brace, and given an IV drip. "There were times when I thought I was dead, and then I would wake up again to find myself beneath the rubble," he says. "I survived on ghee that I found in a bottle there, scraping until the last dollop to feed myself." A doctor says it "is nothing short of a miracle" that Tamang suffered no major injuries. Rescuers are still searching for two children, about 6 and 12, whom Tamang says he spoke to while trapped. Shortly before he was freed, the head of the US team said his rescue was risky, but "to save a human life, we'll risk almost anything." A day earlier, French workers pulled a man from the rubble of a hotel 80 hours after the quake. (Read more Nepal stories.)

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