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Anguish and hope as rescue lasts into third day

08-10-2010 17:20 BJT Special Report:China Fights Worst Flood in Decades |

ZHOUQU, Gansu, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Wang Wei missed the call of his life.

An unanswered phone call from his home in the early hours of Sunday was probably his wife's last hope of survival.

Wang did not hear the ring, as he was guarding 18 detainees at the detention center in Zhouqu County, northwest China's Gansu Province, that night.

When a massive mudslide swept through the county after midnight and ripped houses from their foundations, the armed police officer forgot about his family until after the detainees were evacuated.

His wife has not been found in the rubble of their home, now covered with a thick layer of mud and sludge.

Despite his grief, Wang joined more than 7,000 troops who are searching for lives in the mudslide-leveled county of Zhouqu.

Armed with simple, primitive tools like shovels, hoes and ropes, they raced against the clock battling through sludge and rubble, spurred by the miraculous survival of a 52-year-old Tibetan man Tuesday morning, 58 hours after the disaster.

The man, by name of Liu Ma Shindan, was rescued at 11:20 a.m. in the ruins of a residential building for telecommunication workers in the county seat.

Liu, whose name is half Tibetan, half Han Chinese like many locals -- as a result of intermarriage between the two ethnic groups -- was saved by rescuers from the neighboring Sichuan Province.

His heart rate and blood pressure were normal and there were no apparent injuries, said Dr. Du Bin from Beijing Union Hospital.

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