Two women were rescued several hours after the 72-hour “golden window” for saving survivors had passed, after an illegally built six-story building collapsed in Changsha, South China Morning Post reports.
One survivor, a woman known as Xiaoyuan, was pulled from the rubble 88 hours after the structure fell.
Xiaoyuan was lauded by national media and the local firefighting department in Changsha, Hunan province, for her escape and the methods she took to stay alive during the ordeal.
Xiaoyuan, who was staying in a hotel in the building when it collapsed, had a bottle of water with her. She rationed the water by sipping only small amounts, and even had some left when she was rescued.
With temperatures plummeting overnight, she said that a blanket that was in her room was key to her survival.
The moment a the tenth survivor was rescued from the rubble. Image via Weibo@南方都市报
The 21-year-old also used pieces of debris to hit objects around her in an attempt to signal for help.
“When the noise outside was loud I didn’t hit the wall because it wouldn’t be heard,” she said. “Only when I felt rescuers were approaching or the surrounding environment was quiet, would I hit it regularly. Eventually, someone heard my signal.”
Xiaoyuan was unable to use her mobile phone to reach out for help as the rubble had blocked the signal, but she could still see the time and date, allowing her to know exactly how long she had been stuck.
Firefighter Wen Peng told CCTV that “When she was moved out of the site, both her physical and mental state remained strong. This gave us a pleasant surprise.”
“This 21-year-old trapped girl’s calmness and self-assurance have helped extend her survival time while waiting to be rescued,” the Hunan Provincial Firefighting Department said.
Another woman, the 10th survivor, who has not been named, was rescued 130 hours after the collapse.
Fifty-three people are still missing, the majority of whom are students of a nearby medical college.
The illegally built six-story building, which contained apartments, businesses, hotel rooms and restaurants, collapsed on April 29.
Watch the video below to see aftermath of the collapse.
[Cover image via Weibo@湘军廖正华]