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Bangladesh Rescue Of Building Collapse Survivor After 17 Days A Reminder Of Rare 'Miraculous' Rescues Of Past Disasters

posted 10 May 2013, 10:06 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 10 May 2013, 10:10 ]

Pictures of the dramatic rescue of a woman from the Bangladeshi building collapse 17 days after the walls of the rickety factory fell on her are reminiscent of the very few but memorable 'miraculous rescues' of past disasters.

PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI (FILE - JANUARY 2010)  (REUTERS) -  From a man pulled out of the rubble 27 days after the Haiti earthquake to the Chilean miners who survived 69 days in the belly of the earth with no hope of getting out, through to babies in Turkey and China saved from crumbling buildings by their mothers' arms, television pictures have been capturing near miraculous moments of human resilience.

And Friday (May 10) in Dhaka was one such moment when a woman, identified by Bangladeshi media only as Reshma, was pulled out of the mashed remains of a building that collapsed 17 days ago.

Her rescue was reminiscent of that of a teenage girl in Port au Prince rescued 15 days after the devastating January 12 Haiti earthquake in 2010. More than 200,000 people died when a 7.0 earthquake levelled large swathes of the capital strewn with poorly built homes that crumbled like cards.

Even more astonishing was when 28-year Haitian Evan Muncie was pulled out of the rubble four weeks after the earthquake. He was emaciated, dehydrated but still alive. His family then said he had been working at the market when the earth opened up.

Much debate ensued as to whether or not it was possible for someone to live so long without food or water but doctors said his terrible physical condition was consistent with someone who had undergone this type of ordeal.

Questions arose after it was revealed that another man, Exantus Wismond Jean Pierre, who was captured in dramatic footage filmed by a French rescue team being hoisted out of a collapsed hotel 11 days after the quake, had in fact fallen down a hole days after the disaster. His physical condition was much better than Muncie's.

In the 2011 Turkey earthquake, baby girl Azra was miraculously rescued with her mother and grandmother, two days after the disaster.

Whilst in China this year, one baby survived a powerful earthquake in Lushan County after her mother protected her child from falling debris. The baby was badly hurt, however.

And in Chile in 2010, millions of people around the world were captivated by the blow by blow account of how 33 miners trapped in a deep underground shaft for 69 days were rescued alive, thanks to a complex operation involving a thin capsule.

When an August 5 cave-in trapped the miners, hopes had faded that they would ever be found alive. But 17 days later, the rescue teams bore a tiny hole through to the miners' refuge and the 33 sent up a note, confirming they had survived.

"The 33 of us are fine in the shelter," said then Mining Minister, Laurence Golborne, reading from the note.

The drilled hole became the umbilical cord of communication between the miners and rescuers during the 69 day ordeal and rescue operation.

The evacuation process -- via a metal capsule named Phoenix after the mythical bird that rose from the ashes -- went quicker and more smoothly than anyone dared to believe, swelling Chileans' pride at the rescue. The miners were generally in good health, except for one who had pneumonia and was being treated with antibiotics.