A man pulled from the rubble of a collapsed hotel by a French rescue team more than three days after the deadly Nepal earthquake says he was forced to drink his own urine to survive.
Rishi Khanal, 27, had just finished lunch at a hotel in Kathmandu and had gone up to the second floor when everything suddenly started to move and fall apart. He was struck by falling masonry and trapped with his foot crushed under rubble.
“I had some hope but by yesterday I’d given up. My nails went all white and my lips cracked. I was sure no one was coming for me. I was certain I was going to die,” he told from his hospital bed on Wednesday, surrounded by his family.
He was surrounded by dead people and a terrible smell. But he kept banging on the rubble all around him and eventually this brought a French rescue team that extracted him after an operation lasting many hours. By the time he was pulled out, he had been trapped – in what could have become his tomb – for 82 hours.
“There was no sound going out, or coming in. I kept banging against the rubble and finally someone responded and came to help. I hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink so I drank my own urine.”
It was not clear if he was a hotel employee or a guest.
“It feels good. I am thankful,” he said. He was taken away for surgery before more details could be obtained.
More than 5,000 people are known to have died and over 8,000 injured in the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that also caused deaths in India and Tibet. But an overwhelming majority were in Nepal.
The earthquake hit the capital, Kathmandu, but its impact spread far beyond. At least 18 people died on the slopes of Mount Everest, where avalanches buried part of the base camp packed with foreign climbers. Another 61 people were killed in neighboring India, and China reported 20 people dead in Tibet.
Nearly 100 aftershocks, including a magnitude-6.7 temblor Sunday, have hindered rescue efforts and terrorized residents sleeping in open squares and parks.
Kathmandu is full of small, poorly constructed brick apartment buildings, and the quake destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods, even as more modern structures stood firm. Most areas were without power and water.
The quake was the worst to hit Nepal in at least 80 years. Nepal’s worst recorded earthquake in 1934 measured 8.0 and all but destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.