Fitness Instructor Survives 14 Days In Quake Rubble
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ A 27-year-old cook and fitness instructor was pulled today from the ruins of a hotel that collapsed 14 days ago in an earthquake. He is among the longest survivors of a quake on record.
Pedrito Dy was rescued about 3:45 a.m. from the wreckage of the Hyatt Hotel in Baguio, a mountain resort 130 miles to the north. He was the third person found alive at the Hyatt since Friday, when a man and a woman were rescued.
Dy was flown to Manila, where doctors said he was suffering from dehydration and low blood sugar. Dr. Raul Morena said Dy survived because he was athletic and suffered no serious injuries in the July 16 quake.
″I drank my urine, sometimes drops of rainwater,″ Dy said when he arrived in Manila.
″I caught water with my mouth and scooped urine with the palm of my hand. For 13 days, I was telling myself I would die. And then I cried for help.″
Dy, whose eyes appeared glazed and whose face showed little emotion, said he became so despondent that he tried to commit suicide by banging his head against the debris.
In a voice barely audible, Dy said: ″I prayed constantly to the Virgin Mary and gave my life up to the Lord. Then I wasn’t scared anymore.″
Morena said Dy was disoriented because of low blood sugar but that he was responding to treatment. He was examined at Manila’s Makati Medical Center.
Dy said he was among 12 people trapped in the basement of the hotel wing used to house employees, but all the others had died.
More than 50 people, including 12 Americans of Filipino origin, are still believed buried beneath the Hyatt.
The July 16 earthquake measured 7.7 on the Richter scale. It left at least 1,653 people dead, 1,000 missing and presumed dead, 3,000 seriously injured and 110,000 homeless.
Foreign rescue teams in Baguio abandoned the search for more survivors more than a week ago because they said sensor instruments indicated there were no more people alive in the ruins of eight hotels that collapsed in the quake.
But Filipino crews, many of them miners and other volunteers, continued the search. There was renewed optimism after two survivors were pulled from the rubble of the Hyatt on Friday, where they had been trapped for 11 days.
The two - Luisa Mallorca, 20, and Arnel Calabia, 26 - were reported in good condition and were flown Sunday from Baguio to Manila for medical treatment.
Experts say it is unlikely that anyone can survive buried under rubble for more than about a week without food and water.
Baguio, which is about a mile above sea level, has been experiencing unusually heavy rains in recent days, which cooled the area and apparently provided enough water to sustain survivors.
When a powerful earthquake struck San Francisco on Oct. 21, 1989, rescuers pulled an Oakland longshoreman, Buck Helm, from his car 89 hours afterward. He He died 28 days after his rescue.
The most celebrated survivors of a Mexico City earthquake in September 1985 were the ″miracle babies″ found in the rubble of two maternity hospitals. The newborns survived periods of entombment of up to nine days.
Dy said he had finished his shift as a hotel cook and had gone to the basement to work out in the gym with fellow employees. The force of the tremor hurled him against an exercise cushion hanging against a wall, which collapsed on him.
The cushion shielded him from falling debris, he said. Dy said he found a metal tube in the rubble, which he used to tap out distress calls.
Before they left, British investigators said they heard tapping sounds from the basement. But the tapping ceased, and they abandoned the search because they thought the victim had died. It was unclear whether someone else was also tapping signals.
Dy said he was aware of the passage of time because a clock in the gym was undamaged and continued to strike daily at noon and midnight.
Officials said Dy’s wife and son, Peter Art, were in La Union province, which suffered extensive damage in the quake. It was unknown whether they would be brought to Manila.