Five days after a massive earthquake destroyed Nepal, 17-year-old Pemba Lama (originally referred to as 15-year-old Tamang by news sources) was rescued alive from the debris, peddles and piles of bricks.
Rescuers heard a cry from a multistory residential building in Kathmandu. They cleared all the rubble and successfully pulled out the boy. The large crowd cheered as he was pulled alive and carried away in a stretcher.
“It’s a miracle, a true miracle,” an armed police force general told NBC News. “He came out and he’s okay!”
The teenager survived the massive quake by hiding behind a motorcycle, thus the concrete slab of the building did not fall over him.
“He was trapped in a 2.5-foot-tall-by-3.5-foot-wide area behind the motorcycle,” said Chris Schaff, as quoted by The New York Times. Schaff is a battalion chief with the Fairfax County Fire Department from Virginia.
“He wasn’t being crushed; he was just pinned.”
Dressed in a blue neck brace, Pemba Lama was covered with dust, but he was responding. He apparently showed no signs of injury. He was given an IV drip and was rushed to a nearby emergency hospital.
USAID team leader Andrew Olvera told NBC News, “We have buildings that are leaning, so there’s a lot of danger, but when there’s a live victim and a potential to save someone we will risk it all.”
“He was not crushed, but being in there for six days with no food, no water, no nutrition was obviously very taxing … so he was very fortunate.”
Olvera described the rescue as “amazing.”
“It’s what we do, it’s what we train for … our firefighters know how to get in there and get to business. When we do this, we have thousands of hours of training for this scenario, and this is the ultimate reward,” he said.
The death toll from the gigantic quake in Nepal had risen up to 5,500.