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As tons of mud and rock tore through Zhouqu, three adults and two children found themselves trapped on the upper floor of an apartment building. In a twelve hour rescue operation, they were safely removed.
It's an experience Xie Taiping will never forget.
Late Saturday evening as the landslide roared through town 11 terrified people rushed out to the lobby on fifth floor. The force of the tons of mud tore the building in two.
A survivor Xie Taiping said, "At that time, I heard a loud sound. Then, the apartment collapsed. I was lucky to still be alive, but six others are gone. I had no choice but to pray."
Xie found himself trapped in a corner of the lobby with his wife and children, in a precarious perch high above the ground.
Another survivor Yang Runxiang said, "I felt the whole building shaking. Then, it was torn into two."
The base of the building had been destroyed.
The surrounding mud was over one meter deep, making it extremely difficult for soldiers to reach the stranded survivors.
Wang Yiwen, leader of Zhouqu Rescue Group, said, "We managed to fix two ropes to the top floor. Then, soldiers climbed up and let down the ropes. It was very dangerous because the building could have collapsed at any moment."
After 12-hours, their heroic efforts finally paid off and the trapped survivors were rescued.
Xie said, "I am very grateful to them. It is they who have given us another chance to live. We would not be alive without their efforts."
Despite the massive destruction, searchers are not giving up hope and continue digging through the rubble looking for survivors.