Friday, August 26, 2016 4:08 pm
Italian fire-fighter, Massimo Caico, who rescued a four-year-old girl from under rubble after Italy’s earthquake, which killed her older sister, has described the girl’s survival as miraculous.
He said on Friday during a press conference in Rome that “she was practically unscathed; I swear that if miracles exist, this was definitely one.
Caico said that the girl, Giorgia, had spent about 16 hours under the rubble on Wednesday before he managed to pull her out.
He added that the girl was found crouching with her head down beneath her dead sister.
“Giorgia lived in Pescara del Tronto, a hamlet in the municipality of Arquata del Tronto where 49 died, according to the latest numbers.
“My team arrived in Pescara del Tronto and started digging at 9 a.m., but the sisters were not found until the late evening,’’ he said.
The fire-fighter said that he first found a doll and then a cuddly toy, but he could hear no signs of life.
Caico said further that a sniffer dog detected something, and as rescuers continued digging, they found a mattress, then the corner of a pillow, and then a foot.
“The foot belonged to the survivor’s sister, and it was cold.’’
He narrated that as he cleared the rubble to free the rest of the dead body, he saw earth moving next to it, suggesting that someone was breathing underneath.
The fire fighter said that after, a strong aftershock temporarily disrupted the rescue efforts.
“I shouted to colleagues and rescuers, shut up for a moment. I wasn’t sure of anything, but we heard a girl’s lament.
“Faint, almost imperceptible, but it was there. So I shouted, she is alive,” he said.
Caico recalled that “her mouth was full of earth, she was completely buried, but she was protected by the body of her older sister, Giulia, who unfortunately we found dead.
“God knows how, she could breathe a little, and that was enough.
“As she was extracted, the girl was alert and told rescuers her name,’’ he said.
Caico, who is married with no child, said he would “never forget” the girl’s eyes, and added that he considered her an adopted daughter.
A report said that Giorgia is now in the hospital and being looked after by her grandmother, but too traumatised to speak. (dpa/NAN)