A woman is being hailed as “life’s miracle” after being rescued from the rubble of a building in China six days after it collapsed.
Xiaoyuan, the 21-year-old survivor, was rescued in good physical condition after the illegally built, six-story building in Changsha, Hunan Province, collapsed on April 29.
“The woman was in good physical and mental condition when she was rescued,” firefighter Wen Peng said.
She had been reportedly staying at a hotel in the building when the disaster occurred and fell four floors. The walls formed a triangle above her head.
Xiaoyuan had a blanket, a mobile phone and half a bottle of water with her. She managed to conserve her water and used the blanket to keep herself warm. While there was no cellular signal under the rubble, she would use her phone to check the time and day.
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“When the noise outside was loud I didn’t hit the wall because it wouldn’t be heard,” she said. “Only when I felt rescuers were approaching or the surrounding environment was quiet, would I hit it regularly. Eventually, someone heard my signal.”
“I was fully aware of how long I was trapped, therefore, I didn’t panic,” she added.
Her story trended on the social media platform Sina Weibo and inspired many in China, leading the local firefighting department and the national media to hail her survival as a “miracle.”
“This 21-year-old trapped girl’s calmness and self-assurance have helped extend her survival time while waiting to be rescued,” an authority from the Hunan Provincial Firefighting Department was quoted as saying by the Morning Post.
“A true miracle not only depends on the help of other people, but also on the effort people make to save themselves. Having the awareness she did and grasping what to do and not panic was important,” they added.
The building contained hotel rooms, restaurants, apartments and businesses. Rescuers have confirmed the survival of 10 people and the deaths of 53 others. Many of those who are still missing are students from a nearby college.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered an investigation into the disaster. There have been at least nine arrests, and four people were charged with causing a major liability accident, while five others were accused of issuing false documents.