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China Earthquake Rescuers Free Woman From Rubble After 50 Hours

Xiong Zhengfang was pulled from the rubble after the quake devastated rural, farming communities in a mountainous region of Yunnan province.

BEIJING - An elderly woman was rescued late Tuesday after being buried in the rubble for 50 hours by an earthquake that killed almost 600 people. Xiong Zhengfang, 88, was freed after Sunday's 6.1 magnitude quake devastated farming communities in a mountainous region of Yunnan province. The mother-of-five suffered a fractured rib, chest injuries, internal organ damage and dehydration, but was otherwise stable, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Her son, Li Xianwei, asked rescue teams for help after desperate searches by family members proved fruitless. "We came here and a man told us his mother was buried under the rubble," rescuer Zhang Yuhu told China’s CCTV network. "We heard her voice at this position, so we drilled a hole here and found through observation that this was the best place for rescue operation." CCTV said she was the oldest person rescued in the disaster so far. Perhaps owing to confusion, Sichuan News reported her first words were: "You naughty boy, turn on the light!"


— Ed Flanagan and Chaojie Zhou