Image: 'Miracle' quake survivor dies
Vahid Salemi  /  AP
Jalal Shahiki Chahmaleki, shown here receiving treatment Wednesday, succumbed to his injuries Sunday.
updated 1/11/2004 3:13:08 AM ET 2004-01-11T08:13:08

A 57-year-old man who survived 13 days under the rubble of a devastating earthquake died Sunday in a field hospital in Bam, his doctor said.

Jalal Shahiki Chahmaleki died of respiratory and heart failure, said Dr. Mahdi Shadnoush, chief physician at the Ukrainian field hospital in Bam.

His wife, who joined him Saturday for the first time since the Dec. 26 quake, fainted when she learned he had died, the doctor said.

“Everybody was weeping when he died. We did whatever we could to save him. This was his fate,” Shadnoush told The Associated Press by telephone from Bam.

Jalal was recovered alive Wednesday, 13 days after a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck Bam in southeast Iran on Dec. 26, killing more than 30,000 people and leveling much of the ancient city.

Doctors said Jalal had a source of water nearby, and Shadnoush described the rescue as a “miracle.”

People rarely survive being buried under earthquake rubble without food, water, or adequate air supplies, for more than three days.

The rescued man was able to mouth out his first name before losing consciousness. Shadnoush said the man’s identity card, brought by his family, identified him as Jalal Shahiki Chahmaleki.

“Jalal was still unconscious when his wife met him for the first time on Saturday. She was weeping quietly as she gently fondled her husband, prompting the sympathy of the medical team,” Shadnoush said.

Jalal had 8 children, two of whom died in the earthquake.

Jalal, from the town of Narmanshir, about 40 miles outside Bam, came to the city a day before the earthquake for medical treatment.

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