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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Woman in good condition after being pulled from rubble of collapsed sweatshop after 17 days

Out of the most horrific tragedies, miracles do occur. As the toll of the Rana Plaza building, the eight-story Bangladesh sweatshop that collapsed, rises to 1,034, there emerges the story of seamstress Reshma Begum who managed to survive 17 days trapped in the basement. Begum is in miraculously good condition, able to walk, leading her sister to declare, "We got her back just when we had lost all our hope to find her alive . God is so merciful."
 

Carried out on a stretcher to an awaiting ambulance, rescuers said Reshma Begum was in shockingly good condition, despite her ordeal.

Carried out on a stretcher to an awaiting ambulance, rescuers said Reshma Begum was in shockingly good condition, despite her ordeal.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Reshma Begum, Bangladesh, survival, building collapse, sweatshop


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "There was some dried food around me," Begum told TV reporters. "I ate the dried food for 15 days. The last two days I had nothing but water. I used to drink only a limited quantity of water to save it. I had some bottles of water around me."

One of the more agonizing details of her ordeal was the fact she heard rescuers but couldn't communicate with them. "I heard voices of the rescue workers for the past several days. I kept hitting the wreckage with sticks and rods just to attract their attention," she says.

"No one heard me. It was so bad for me. I never dreamed I'd see the daylight again," she said.

Begum was discovered near a Muslim prayer room in the basement of the building. Crews at the site by this time had begun to concentrate on recovering bodies and not on rescuing survivors.

Begum said she was working in the factory on the second floor when the building began to give way around her. She raced down a stairwell into the basement. She became trapped in a pocket that allowed her to survive.

"Reshma told me there were three others with her. They died. She did not see anybody else alive there," said Maj. Gen. Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy, the head of the local military units. The other bodies were eventually recovered from another section of the building not far from Begum.

Begum finally got the crews' attention when she took a steel pipe and began banging it. Cranes and bulldozers were ordered stopped and handsaws, welding and drilling equipment were used to cut through the iron rod and debris still trapping her. Rescuers gave Begum water, oxygen and saline as they worked to free her.

Freed after 40 minutes, the crowd erupted in wild cheers. Carried out on a stretcher to an awaiting ambulance, rescuers said she was in shockingly good condition, despite her ordeal.

"She was fine, no injuries. She was just trapped. The space was wide," said Lt. Col. Moyeen, an army official at the scene who uses only one name.

Doctors at the hospital told Bangladeshi television that Begum was out of danger and her kidney and liver function were fine.

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