| A rescue worker with a British sniffer dog looks for survivors among the debris of Margala Towers in Islamabad on Monday. (Reuters)
Islamabad, Oct. 10: Buried under rubble, Umer Mushtaq did not give up his faith in God.
Thirty-seven hours later, his prayers were answered and he learnt that miracles do happen. This time, it came in the shape of a British heat-seeking sensor.
Mushtaq is among the 86 survivors of the 10-storey Margala Towers building in Islamabad that had crumbled within seconds of the earthquake.
Rescue workers, including a British specialist team, have so far extracted at least 34 bodies from the debris. But several people are still feared buried.
“I was scared as the roof kept coming down and the space was shrinking,” the 17-year-old Mushtaq, surrounded by family members at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Science (PIMS), told reporters.
He was spotted alive yesterday with the help of the heat-seeking sensors the British experts had brought with them. The team is part of the international assistance that is pouring in from all corners to Pakistan.
“I saw death from very close but never lost hope as I had full faith that God Almighty will save me,” said Mushtaq.
Zafar Iqbal, one of the city administration officials, was also among the fortunate survivors but he stands devastated and distraught. The collapse has cost him the lives of his three children ' a three-month-old baby girl, a daughter aged four and a six-year-old boy.
Iqbal’s wife was extracted from the rubble after one of her arms was amputated to release her from the steel and concrete cage she was caught in.
For many survivors like Mushtaq, Zafar and his wife, the first ray of light came as rescuers, particularly those who arrived from Britain, began using modern equipment in rescue operations.
“I was so relieved to see that people know I am still alive but at the same time a little apprehensive, fearing the drill do not go the wrong way,” a wounded and weak Mushtaq said.