Man pulled alive from Iran quake rubble
( 2004-01-09 09:09) (Agencies)
A 56-year-old man was rescued alive after spending 13 days beneath the rubble of the earthquake-razed Iranian city of Bam, but he then slipped into a coma and doctors said Thursday they feared for his life.
"It seems he had some water because around him was wet," said medic Mehdi Shadnoush, part of a Ukrainian-Iranian team treating the man at a field hospital in Bam.
"When he arrived at the hospital his signs of life were very weak. He was frozen and now he is in a coma," Shadnoush told Reuters.
The man lay on a hospital bed covered by a white blanket and had an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose. He looked very thin and had a white-and-black beard.
"We are following his status minute by minute but we don't hold out too much hope," Shadnoush said.
State radio had originally reported the man's age as 57. But doctors said that when he was first brought to the hospital he had been able to give his first name, Jalil, and his age, 56. He slipped into a coma overnight.
The December 26 earthquake, which measured 6.8 on the Richter scale, struck just before dawn, destroying 90 percent of the city's buildings and killing more than 30,000 people.
Experts say it is very rare for people to survive for more than 72 hours in such conditions. Temperatures have fallen to around freezing most nights since the earthquake struck.
Aid workers said the rescued man had traveled from a nearby village to Bam for medical treatment and was staying with his sister when the earthquake struck.
"We have sent people to his village to bring his wife to the hospital," said Iranian aid worker Mohammad Reza Tahmasbi.
Rescue workers were prompted to look for the man after a woman from the neighborhood noticed his body had not yet been recovered.
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