Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rescuer's Account

How Reshma was rescued

The operation to get Reshma out was carried out by five army personnel and eight firemen.
Yesterday, the rescue team was initially planning to get into the basement of the building with their usual arsenal of heavy equipment but they found water in the basement, said Major MM Moazzem Hossain, a team member.
“Around 3:25pm, when we were trying to locate the source of the water, standing on the first floor of the collapsed building, we saw a movement of a stick,” he told The Daily Star.
“We were five to six yards away from the moving stick, which was short and thin,” he said.
They rushed to check what was causing the movement and shouted asking if anyone was there.
“We heard a female voice say, ‘Save me’,” Moazzem said.
Another rescuer, Warrant Officer Abdur Razzaque, said after they had created a hole, they saw a human face. “A voice reached my ears, ‘Bhai amake banchan [brother, save me]‘,” he said.
Major Moazzem said, “I spoke to the girl. She told me her name is Reshma … We told her that we will be with her and that we would not leave without getting her out.”
Moazzem said then they started to make the narrow hole bigger using hand drills and hammers. It took an hour to make the hole 1.5 feet in diameter.
During this time, they gave Reshma juice and water.
Moazzem said, “I went inside as I was thinnest among the rescuers. I helped Reshma get out through the hole. She was skinny too and was able to get out with ease around 4:30pm.”
He said Reshma was trapped in a pocket about 10 feet long and eight feet wide. She was able to walk, sit, and sleep on the floor.
Deputy Director Rezaul Karim of Fire Service and Civil Defence, who also took part in the rescue operation, said, “After being taken out, Reshma was looking around and said she was glad to see daylight.”
It is hard to imagine the joy the rescuers felt after pulling out bodies from the rubble for weeks. Onlookers rushed in to congratulate the rescuers as Reshma was taken away in an ambulance.
Over 1,000 had perished in the Rana Plaza disaster.