LA firefighters help rescue boy alive from Nepal rubble

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The Los Angeles County Fire Dept. urban search and rescue team that flew to Nepal on Monday has helped local rescuers extract a 15-year-old boy from the debris of a collapsed hotel where he had been trapped for five days. Pemba Lama, 15, survived by eating bottled ghee he found near him in the rubble. He was uninjured except for dehydration. "There were times when I thought I was dead and then I would wake up again to find myself beneath the rubble” he said in an interview, apparently with the LA Times. Great detail of the rescue in the LAT story from Kathmandu:

Nepali rescue teams had been using a bright orange excavator to clear rubble at the site when they heard a yell. “I saw something bright outside as the excavator moved the rubble around me and then I screamed for help,” Lama said.

The team treating him at the Israeli medical camp in Chhauni, Katmandu, was surprised to find him not just alive but in such good condition. “This is nothing short of a miracle to find him alive after five days and that too with no major injury; he was only dehydrated,” said Dr. Sakhi Dagan, who was overseeing Lama’s treatment at the camp.

When the earthquake began, Lama, a hotel employee, recalled, “I hurried downstairs from the cash counter when I felt the strong tremors ... after that everything came crashing down.” He said he didn't remember anything after that until several hours later, when he woke and found himself in the rubble.

Narayan Thapa, the on-scene commander for the Nepali Armed Police Force, said rescue workers were continuing to search for two other children that Lama had said were trapped in the debris. Lama told authorities on the scene he had been able to speak with the two children, a girl of about 6 and a boy age 12 or 13, until about 4 a.m. Thursday.

Rescue teams from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Fairfax County, Va., rescue teams -- who are members of the U.S. Agency for International Development's disaster assistance response team -- were using listening devices and dogs to try to find the children.

The LAT's Beijing correspondent, Julie Makinen, is in Nepal.

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