Sat, Aug 08, 2015 - Page 10 News List

Woman student saved from crushed car
貨櫃壓扁小轎車 女研究生奇蹟走出殘骸

A firefighter examines a car crushed beneath a toppled container in Keelung City on Friday last week.

Photos: Wu Cheng-feng, Liberty Times

On Friday last week, a 38-year-old man was driving a tractor-trailer with a 40-foot container on the flatbed trailer, heading northward from Taoyuan and planning to unload it at Keelung Harbor. At around 6pm, when he was just one kilometer from his destination and for no apparent reason, the tractor-trailer overturned to the left-hand side and the container crushed a green car that was waiting at a red light next to the truck.

A woman surnamed Huang who is a research student at National Taiwan Normal University had been going to Taipei to give a lesson as a home tutor, and she had asked her father to drive her to Keelung Station to catch a train. Only shortly after the father and daughter set out, however, they were struck by an unexpected calamity.

When the container tipped over, it first hit a lamppost on the median divider island, then fell onto the roof of the car. The truck driver climbed out of his cab on his own, without suffering any external injuries, but the car was crushed so badly that only its headlights were visible. The rest of it was obscured by the crumpled steel side panel of the container, and the car’s horn was pressed so that it was blaring continuously.

When firefighters arrived on the scene and saw how serious it was, they expected the worst. First of all, they radioed for two big cranes and a tow truck to come and support the operation. They then went to the car and called out, “Is anyone in there?” A few seconds later, they heard a voice calling “Help!” — one little word that gave them some confidence.

When the firefighters found that Miss Huang, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, was still alive, they hurriedly comforted her, saying, “The cranes are coming — hold on there!” Next, the cranes lifted the side of the container up to an angle of about 45 degrees, upon which they used the tow truck to pull the car out. When the firefighters saw how everything above the car’s hood had been crushed flat, they wondered for a moment whether they had been mistaken when they heard a cry for help. However, when they cut open the wreckage over the front passenger seat with a hydraulic cutter, the scene that emerged shocked everyone present.

Somebody’s left hand, clenched into a fist, stretched out of the car, proving that somebody was alive. Thereupon, the firefighters sped up their rescue efforts, and a minute later Miss Huang crawled out of the wreckage. Only her hands and feet were slightly grazed, so she managed to step out of the car by herself. While walking toward the stretcher, she kept looking back to see how her father was. When she caught sight of her anxious mother, Miss Huang broke down in tears, crying that she wanted to wait for her father to come out, but her mother hugged her and said, “Better go to the hospital — Your daddy wants you to be OK.”

Feeling encouraged, the firefighters then pulled Mr Huang out from the driver’s seat, but, heartbreakingly, he showed no signs of life. After rushing him to hospital, doctors tried to revive him for an hour, but no more could be done for him.

(Liberty Times, translated by Julian Clegg)




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