Love pulls Indian couple through quake nightmare


NEW DELHI, AFP

A couple of newlyweds, who were buried under rubble by India’s massive earthquake, pulled through two days of agony by reliving happy moments from their marriage, a newspaper said Monday.

The Indian Express daily, which splashed a front page color photograph of the couple Chirag and Piyalee Patel, showed the two holding hands with one with a leg in a cast and the other’s thumb in a plaster.

Chirag said the moment the killer quake struck on Friday morning, he pulled his wife to a corner of their four-story building, which was bucking “like an airplane flying through turbulence.”

The roof and walls of the building came crashing down and a seven-inch beam hurtled towards them only to rest four feet above the heads of the lucky couple.

“Our legs were knee deep in debris. Both of us were trapped in an approximately 1.5 square feet area. We did panic, but death was the last thing on our minds,” Chirag recalled.

They managed to survive by breathing through a miraculous air hole in the mounds of cement and steel above their heads.

“We spoke about the events we had attended and recalled other happy times. We even cracked a couple of jokes as we tried to forget the situation. We prayed and waited,” Chirag said.

The couple knocked on the stones, hit steel rods on the debris and shouted, before finally managing to draw the attention of rescuers.

“We were pulled out slowly amid thunderous applause from all those present around. It was a miracle that we were alive.”

The couple had been trapped for more than 36 hours.

The quake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale claimed the lives of up to 20,000 people and resulted in collapses of tens of thousands of buildings in the western state of Gujarat.