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Woman in her 90s found alive in rubble 5 days after Japan earthquake

Rescuers said the woman was trapped under a collapsed two-story house. It took several hours to free her.
Woman in her 90s found alive in rubble 5 days after Japan earthquake
Posted at 12:32 PM, Jan 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-08 14:32:54-05

A woman in her 90s was found alive and pulled from the rubble five days after a destructive earthquake hit Japan.

Rescuers located the woman under a collapsed two-story house in Suzu City in Ishikawa prefecture around 8:20 p.m. Saturday, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK. She was transported to a hospital, where she received treatment. 

The woman was coherent and responding to questions. Authorities said she has injuries to her legs. 

Kume Takanori, who was a member of the rescue team, said the woman's knees had been trapped under furniture and other objects, according to NHK. There was almost no space left between the first and second floors of the house.

Takanori said it took hours for rescuers to successfully free the woman.

The rescuer added that the first 72 hours of a rescue mission are critical, as chances of survival drop significantly after that period.

Despite that, rescue workers in Japan are not giving up. They said they will continue their search for survivors.

Dr. Inaba Mototaka, a physician with the nonprofit organization Peace Winds Japan, helped save the woman's life. Mototaka said as long as people can drink water and stay warm, they can survive the 72-hour mark, according to NHK.

Dr. Mototaka suspects the woman was able to access water because of rain.

The 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the western coast of Japan on New Year's Day and left at least 168 dead and dozens missing. Thousands of people have been left homeless.

Authorities warned of the danger of landslides as snow is expected in the region.

SEE MORE: Rescuers race against time in search for earthquake survivors in Japan


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