Rescue of 15-year-old inspires Va. rescue team in Nepal

FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA9) -- The 15-year-old boy in Nepal after five days under the rubble is doing amazingly well.

He has no serious injuries and his rescue provided a feeling of hope for many in Nepal after Saturday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

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On Thursday, rescuers heard the cries of Pemba Lama under the rubble of a Katmandu hotel.

The boy was put on stretcher, medics put an IV drip into his arm and a blue brace on his neck. His face was covered in dust and he blinked in the sunlight. Crowds cheered as he was carried out.

"Dirt, grime, tunneling. Seeing horrific things. You need a boost. And this, five days later finding somebody and being able to help, it's like they just got there," said Captain Randy Bettinger who is part of Task Force 1, the Fairfax County search and rescue team assisting in the search.

Fairfax County Assistant Fire Chief John Caussin said the Fairfax team "were actually the ones gaining access to the victim in this case."

Team members are easily identified in their fluorescent yellow-green helmets. The bright helmets have also served as notepads for important reminders for themselves in communicating with survivors.

Bettinger's helmet still has the French words for "tap three times if you can hear us" from his efforts in Haiti. He says he was part of a team that pulled out a woman under five layers of rubber… after ten days and 36 hours of meticulous searching and digging.

The rescue team uses different kinds of concrete breakers to get to the victims. To find them, canines, listening devices and cameras are employed.

Bettinger says finding survivors like Pemba Lama leaves him amazed at their will to survive.


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