Sat, Feb 10, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Woman helps elderly man escape ruins

By Tang Shih-ming and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A Changhua woman named Pan Kuan-chih (潘冠之), 53, single-handedly carried an elderly man to safety from the ruins of the Marshal Hotel (統帥飯店) following the earthquake in Hualien on Tuesday.

A 75-year-old man, surnamed Wei (魏), said he was staying at the hotel with his wife because he was undergoing stem cell therapy at Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital for impaired mobility due to a stroke.

The quake caused the first three floors of the building to pancake on top of each other and trapped him and his wife in their room on what was formerly the fifth floor, he said.

Pan, a guest staying on the 10th floor, was making her way out of the wreckage when she found them and immediately carried him to a window, where rescue workers took him to safety, Wei said.

Wei yesterday contacted the media about his story in an attempt to find Pan, whom he wanted to thank personally.

Pan identified herself later in the afternoon, saying she was an insurance agent on a business trip when the quake struck.

After the shaking ceased, she began to descend the building and encountered Wei and his wife, she said, adding that Wei appeared to be handicapped.

Pan at first tried to push Wei in his wheelchair, but was unable to do so, because the quake had turned the hotel hallway into a steep incline, she said.

Pan said none of the younger people around seemed willing or able to help, so she volunteered to carry the man, who told her that he weighed about 50kg.

A hiking enthusiast, Pan said she was used to carrying heavy backpacks, so she was confident that she could move Wei to safety.

She carried him to a window so that he could be helped by search-and-rescue workers.

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