April 29, 2015
Rishi Khanal was on the second floor of a seven-story guesthouse in New Bus Park Gongabu, Kathmandu, when the earthquake hit on Saturday.
It wasn’t until last night that he was finally rescued.
Below is his story, first reported by oninekhabar.com, a Nepali news site, and just translated into English by my assistant, Govinda Rijal:
During the day of April 28, a Nepali Armed Police Force (APF) and a French Search and Rescue Team were combing the area where Rishi Khanal was buried. They entered a seven-story building heavily damaged. The French team was equipped with “detectors” which could determine whether there were any people still alive in the rubble. The “detector” indicated that there were people somewhere in the building still alive.
The teams began shouting, hoping to get a vocal response. But they heard nothing.
Just then, an APF inspector arrived at the scene, went inside and began shouting, “Please respond! Please respond!” And it was he, who first heard the faint sounds of a man. Finally, the teams were able to determine where the voice was coming from. It was below a corner of a room on the second story. The floor was concrete.
On the technical advise of the French rescue team, the APF cut a hole in the concrete. What they saw below were three trapped individuals, Khanal among them. Khanal looked up and pleaded, “Save me.” The other two people, however, were motionless.
At first, the teams thought they could simply pull Khanal up and out of the hole. But it became apparent that his legs were pinned under a slab of concrete.
About this time, the Inspector General of the APF, Kosh Raj Onta, arrived and instructed his team to forget about other bodies (which had been discovered in the adjacent building by a Chinese team) and to concentrate on rescuing the three who were visible from the hole.
Soon after, a team of doctors arrived and made a visual assessment of the three victims. Khanal was able to speak, but the other two were unresponsive with obvious head injuries and excessive bleeding. The doctors pronounced the other two dead.
The rescue team descended into the hole with an oxygen tank and managed to partially lift the concrete slab (resting on Khanal’s legs) with the help of a jack.
“Back pain,” Khanal kept repeating.
The slab was far too heavy to lift so the precarious process of cutting the slab into smaller pieces began.
After ten hours of intensive work, they finally managed to lift Kanal out of the hole and way from the rubble. It was near midnight.
Khanal was rushed to the nearest hospital and the rescue teams moved on to other buildings.