Survivors recount quake nightmares in SW China county

Updated: 2008-05-14 14:10

"The country disappear in front of my eyes"

Zhu Guiping felt lucky he didn't shut the classroom door that afternoon, so 80 percent of his students escaped from the three-story school building.

The teacher of Qushan Primary School in Beichuan County was about to start class when he heard a bang and felt the classroom rocked a bit. "I sensed danger and yelled 'Earthquake. Get out'", he recalled.

The school was built at the foot of the mountain and even on the playground, no one could stand still. Zhu told everyone to lie down. "I lied down myself. The ground was moving and I felt as light as a tree leaf. In a minute or two, I thought the ground cracked and the mountain slided and I lost consciousness."

When he woke up again he realized his lens were gone and he couldn't see well. "I rubbed my eyes and saw the whole county had disappeared in front of my eyes. Not a single house remained standing."

He stood up and found some children and teachers had been buried in the rubbles. "I felt helpless. No one was around to help. So I used my hands to dig out whoever was within reach."

20-day-old survivor

The worst part of the nightmare was over when Xinhua reporters met Ma Yunxiang's family, who huddled in a tent on the suburbs of Beichuan on Wednesday. His wife Wang Shifang was feeding their 20-day-old son.

The mother and baby were buried in the rubbles of their home in Monday's quake. "My legs and waist were buried in the ruins when I tried to run out of the door with the child," said Wang. The baby in her arms was nowhere to be seen.

Her husband and her brother and sister who happened to be visiting them that day removed the rubbles to pull them out. "My son was suffocated and his face turned purple. But thank heavens he's alive," said Wang.

The parents decided to name the baby Ma Zhenchuan, with "Zhen" standing for quake and "chuan" for Beichuan.

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