Out of the tragedy in Nepal as a horrific earthquake has claimed the lives of thousands of people comes the uplifting news that a 4-month-old baby was found buried alive in the rubble. The rescue came 22 hours after the devastating earthquake shook the Asian nation.
Sonit Awal was pulled to safety Sunday morning by the Nepalese army at 10 a.m. and news of the rescue has gone viral online this week as people around the world who are mourning with the Asian nation look for any glimmer of hope. The infant boy’s father, Shyam Awal, called rescuers after their house collapsed from Saturday’s deadly earthquake.
Soldiers from the Nepalese army searched for the infant until Midnight Saturday night but made no progress and called off the search. The father was losing hope until he heard his baby cry the next day and soldiers returned and found him alive. He was taken to a hospital and was found to not be injured.
Nepalese photojournalist Amul Thapa smiled in spite of his hidden pain when he saw the scene he’ll remember always: Rescue workers pulling a 4-month-old boy from the wrecked home where he’d been trapped 20 hours after the earthquake.
Sonit Awal’s chubby cheeks were caked in chalky, concrete dust. One tiny fist curled tightly shut, the other seemingly covering his face.
Thapa’s own family in his hometown of Bhaktapur had suffered and his home had been destroyed but Thapa said when he heard the baby cry all he could think was “Please God, help him.”
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Thapa was walking to the market on Saturday when he first heard of the baby trapped but he decided not to shoot that day.
“The atmosphere was not right.”
But he returned the next morning.
At 10 a.m. on Sunday, Nepalese army soldiers pulled out little Sonit.
“When I saw the baby alive all my sorrow went. Everyone was clapping. It gave me energy and made me smile in spite of lots of pain hidden inside me.”
The photographer said the baby appeared to have suffered only a small cut over his brow.