A miracle. Emanuel Buso
Photo: Noam Barkan

Haiti to cease quake rescue ops

Haitian government says it intends to cease survivor recovery operations in devastated Port-au-Prince. Israeli military mission to Haiti rescues 22-year-old Emanuel Buso, who was trapped under a collapsed three-storey building for 11 days

PORT-AU-PRINCE – Eleven days after a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, an Israel Defense Forces team rescued a young man who was trapped under the ruins of his home.


Emanuel Buso, 22, was extracted from the rubble in moderate condition and rushed to the Israeli field hospital in Port-au-Prince.


Despite recent miraculous rescues such as Buso's,  A United Nations' statement said Saturday that the Haitian government declared an end to the search-and-rescue operation for quake survivors. Some 132 people were rescued from the capital's ruins since the quake hit, with official death toll climbing to 111,499.


Buso was rescued from a three-storey building in the vicinity of the presidential palace, which was also flattened by the quake.


The rescue (Photo: Noam Barkan)


"I thought I was going to die. I prayed to God to send someone to rescue me. I was starting to lose consciousness and then I heard my mother crying," Buso said from his hospital bed.


Buso, who survived what is seemingly an inconceivable amount of time under the ruins, heard his mother aboveground at some point and tried calling for her, but she failed to hear him. Her voice, however, alerted him to the fact a rescue team was near. He managed to move, to wear pants he found nearby, which was when she heard a faint sound coming from the wreckage and quickly called for an American police officer who was supervising rescue efforts nearby.


Meanwhile, an IDF team conducting a population survey meant to ascertain the needs of the surviving residents, was alerted to the fact that there was a survivor trapped underneath the building.


According to Lt.-Col Shai Fruchtman, the mission's intelligence officer, the team was initially skeptical, considering the time that had past since the quake, "But we knew we couldn’t ignore any request for assistance and our local driver drove us to the location in a mad rush," he said.


"When we got there," continued Fruchtman, "We teamed with the French rescue mission, which was also called in. I climbed down to make sure he was alive before the team geared up and there was a tunnel leading almost right up to him. He asked for water and we tried to assess his injuries and asked him to try moving his arms and legs. He reached out to me with a strong arm." 

A miracle. Buso after his extraction (Photo: Noam Barkan)


An extraction team led by Major Zohar Moshe was then called in: "We found that he had some food scarps that helped him survive," he told Ynet. "Rescuing someone like this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing."


Joined by Colonel Dedi Shinchis, majors Liron Shapira, Amir Ben-David, Doron Ziv and Julio Shalev, Captain Nir Hazot and lieutenants Ilan Barel, Shlomi Ben-Yair, Natalie Ben-David and Gal Meir, the team immediately began extracting Buso and once was he was recovered from the wreckage, he was rushed to the nearby IDF field hospital, in moderate condition, where he was finally reunited with his mother.


Colonel Gili Shenhar, the IDF's UN attaché and Israeli Ambassador to Haiti Amos Radian also arrived at the rescue scene.


The mother told Ynet that the family home collapsed as a result of the earthquake, and that two of her other children were injured. "I took them to the village where my family lives and came back to find Emanuel's body for cremation. I was sure he was dead," she said.


"I asked one of the policeman to help me find the body and then we found him alive. I'm so happy he's alive. Now I know there's a God."


AP contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 01.23.10, 07:40
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