msnbc.com
updated 11/24/2010 7:56:58 AM ET 2010-11-24T12:56:58

An elderly French woman who was trapped in her bathroom for three weeks has finally been rescued, media reports said.

The 69-year-old grandmother got stuck in her Paris bathroom when the door lock broke, Agence France-Presse reported.

Firefighters broke into her home and freed her on Friday after a neighbor noticed that she had not picked up her mail in weeks and called the police.

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Authorities said the woman survived by drinking tap water and was in a "very weakened" state when she was found, according to the reports.

"She was badly malnourished and in a state of shock and has been taken to hospital to recover from her ordeal," a police spokeswoman said Tuesday.

There was no way out of her windowless bathroom so she banged on the pipes in hopes that her neighbors would hear her.

But instead they thought it was noisy workmen and started a petition to stop it.

"You could hear banging sounds, like a hammer, even at night," a neighbor told local media according to the BBC.

"But we thought they were doing work at night. We said: 'They are going too far! They are preventing us from sleeping!' If we had known..."

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