DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A seamstress buried in the wreckage of a collapsed garment factory building for 17 days was rescued Friday, a miraculous moment set against a scene of unimaginable horror, where the death toll shot past 1,000.
Reshma survived, in remarkably good shape, by eating dried food that was in her area and drinking spare amounts of water with her. She was discovered on the second floor of the eight-story Rana Plaza building, where crews have been focused on recovering bodies, not rescuing survivors, for much of the past two weeks.
"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 told the private Somoy TV from her hospital bed as doctors and nurses milled about, giving her saline and checking her condition.
"No one heard me. It was so bad for me. I never dreamed I'd see the daylight again," she said.
"There was some dried food around me. 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," she said.
Once Reshma finally got their attention, the crews ordered the cranes and bulldozers to immediately stop work and used handsaws and welding and drilling equipment to cut through the iron rod and debris still trapping her. They gave her water, oxygen and saline as they worked to free her.
When Reshma was freed after 40 minutes, the crowd erupted in wild cheers. She was rushed to a military hospital in an ambulance, but her rescuers said she was in shockingly good condition, despite her ordeal.
Abdur Razzak, a warrant officer with the military's engineering department who first spotted her in the wreckage, said she could even walk.