Kathmandu: A Nepali-French search and rescue team pulled a 28-year-old man, Rishi Khanal, from a collapsed apartment block in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu after he had spent around 80 hours in a room with three dead bodies.
Khanal appeared to have had no access to food or water during his ordeal, which began at midday on Saturday when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, destroying buildings and killing at least 4,600 people.
“It seems he survived by sheer willpower,” said Akhilesh Shrestha, a doctor who treated him.
Khanal had been on the second floor of a seven-storey building when the quake struck. The top floors were intact and the teams drilled down to him after he shouted for help and responded to questions in Nepali.
The rescue took five hours.
Khanal had just finished lunch at a hotel in Kathmandu and had gone up to the second floor when everything suddenly started to move and fall apart. He was struck by falling masonry and trapped with his foot crushed under rubble.
“I had some hope but by yesterday I’d given up. My nails went all white and my lips cracked … I was sure no one was coming for me. I was certain I was going to die,” he told The Associated Press from his hospital bed on Wednesday, surrounded by his family.
“There was no sound going out, or coming in. I kept banging against the rubble and finally someone responded and came to help. I hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink so I drank my own urine.”
It was not clear if he was a hotel employee or a guest.
“It feels good. I am thankful,” he said. He was taken away for surgery before more details could be obtained.
More than 5,000 people are known to have died and over 10,000 injured in the Nepal earthquake. There were also deaths in India, Tibet and Bangladesh.