Astonished rescuers pulled another survivor from the rubble of a department store today, 16 days after the building collapsed, killing more than 300 people.
Rescue workers carried 19-year-old Park Sung Hyun from the rubble of the Sampoong Department Store on a stretcher, her head wrapped in blankets to block the light after so long in darkness. She was reported weak but in stable condition at a hospital.
“It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle,” Park’s mother, Kim In Chul, murmured over and over again, seemingly in shock.
“I can’t believe that this is for real,” her brother told Yonhap Television.
A nurse who treated Park said that except for a scratch on her leg, she did not seem to have external injuries.
“She said that she was thirsty, and she asked what today’s date was,” said nurse Lee Yoo Mee. “When I told her the date, she replied that too many days had passed.”
Emergency workers were digging in the rubble for what they hoped was a second survivor next to Park, who sold children’s clothing in the basement of the department store. It was uncertain whether the second person was alive.
The last survivor was found Tuesday, about 20 yards from where Park was found.
Early today, the death toll in the disaster rose to 305.
Faulty construction is blamed for the collapse of the store June 29 with about 1,500 people inside. Angry relatives of the missing and dead are demanding that prosecutors charge store executives with murder.
About 330 people are believed still trapped under the rubble; 292 are hospitalized in serious condition.
Families of the missing and dead, frustrated and angry, attacked two government officials with brooms and chairs and drove them out of a meeting Friday at a school.
They were angered by rumors that rescuers were letting bodies rot under the rubble in an attempt to hide the extent of losses.
The rumors stemmed from the city’s sudden doubling Thursday of the number of people missing to 410, which prompted speculation that the city didn’t release the number earlier because it wanted to avoid criticism.