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Survivor Pulled from Rubble After 11 Days


Survivor Pulled from Rubble After 11 Days

By Kevin Caruso

January 24, 2010

Eleven days after the Haiti earthquake, Wismond Jean-Pierre, 24, was pulled from the rubble of a hotel in Haiti by rescue workers. His brother heard him tapping and went for help.

Wismond Jean-Pierre
Rescue workers carry Wismond Jean-Pierre after he
was pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building
(Photo: Reuters)

After the rescue, Jean-Pierre told his story to reporters:

"I was in the fruit shop, on the ground floor. I felt that I had a very slim chance of being found. All those days I was down there knocking and yelling, and no one heard me.

"As a stroke of luck from God, only yesterday my brother heard me knocking on the plywood and found me. I said, 'It's me. I'm under the store,' and my brother and my friend went to get help.

"The rescuers came and brought tools and a saw, and that made me very happy. They were as tired as I was. They were shaking things to get me out.

"My mother loves me a lot, and if I had died she would have died right after me. I'm very grateful to be alive. I pray to God to bless the rescuers.

"For all those days I was searching for my cellphone. I couldn't move much.

"Then I found a case of cola, and potato chips. I stumbled across them and I said, 'OK, now I can live for one more day.' If I'm alive it's because of those things.

"In my head I said to God, 'If you save me, I will be your servant. I will glorify your name'.

"I didn't know how long I had been there. I didn't know if it was night or day. I thought I had been there for five or six days. Finally, I understood it had been 12 days.

"There were others trapped with me.

"There was the owner of the hotel, one of his sons and a cousin.

"There were two women on the first floor, one doing the cooking and the other doing the laundry.

"After the collapse I heard noise, but after a while it stopped. I was calling the people who were there, but none replied. I don't know if they were alive.

"I hope that search operations will continue because a lot of people lost hope that I could survive after 12 days, and they found me.

"If I am alive, there are others alive. If they had given up on me, I wouldn't be here today. I would have been dead in two or three days.

"All the time I spent under the rubble, I had a splitting headache and I felt a bit stiff. The doctors gave me some pills for that, and now I feel great."

Lt. Col Chrispophe Renou, a French rescue worker, said the event was a “miracle.” He and some members of the American and Greek rescue teams were seen weeping after the rescue.

 
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