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Woman thanks 'buddha' for saving her husband's life in quake

2018/02/08 22:19:02

Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) A survivor of the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Hualien late Tuesday night said her physically challenged husband owes his life to a stranger who carried him from their hotel in the aftermath of the quake.

Liu Mei-tai (劉美黛), who was at the hotel with her husband and a foreign caregiver when the quake hit, bowed and expressed special thanks to the unknown person who helped carry her paralyzed husband from the partly collapsed Marshal Hotel.

When the earthquake hit, "the whole building was shaking and it was so horrible that the three of us clutched each other," Liu said.

She said the power went out and water began flooding the floor.

"When the caregiver and I were trying hard to pull my husband out of the room (in his wheelchair), someone came and asked how much he weighed and then hoisted him onto their back and took him to safety amid the dust and rubble," Liu said.

She said the person told her, "no problem, I can carry him."

"I don't know who it was, but they were so brave. I want to thank them," Liu said.

"They are buddhas on earth," she concluded, as she recounted the episode to reporters at Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital.

She also bowed several times to express her deepest appreciation to those who were helping to save other lives in aftermath of the earthquake, including firefighters, rescue workers and doctors.

After Liu's story was reported, it was discovered that the person who helped carry her 75-year-old husband to safety was a woman identified by the surname Pan. Pan, an insurance agent from Changhua County, was on a business trip to Hualien and was also staying at the Marshal Hotel.

Pan said she had grabbed her belongings and was trying to get down the dark staircase when she saw an elderly wheelchair-bound man and his wife.

"All I could think of at that moment was to help him get out of there," Pan said. "Some people had already escaped through a window and I could hear the voices of rescuers. I knew I could do it, so I immediately put him on my back and handed him over to rescue workers when I got out of the hotel."

Pan said it was not a problem for her to carry the elderly man as she had taken part in several rescue missions before in high mountain areas.

She said she was happy to learn that that man she helped rescue was in stable condition in hospital.

(By Chen Ching Fang and Flor Wang)