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Nepal Earthquake: Fairfax County Search and Rescue Team Digs Through Rubble

About four days after the quake struck, members of the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue say it's not impossible to find survivors.
/ Source: NBC News

BHAKTAPUR, Nepal — A disaster-ready search and rescue team from Fairfax County, Virginia, began digging through this ancient city Wednesday in a bid to find survivors.

In the five days since the magnitude-7.8 earthquake jolted Nepal, residents of Bhaktapur say they've heard the desperate cries of people trapped beneath the debris and banging on brick, wood or any material that can attract attention.

The 11 members of the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue say it is not impossible to find survivors up to a week after a natural disaster. In Haiti, they said, their team pulled several people out more than a week after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake ravaged the small island nation in 2010.

The team in Nepal is working with a pair of disaster search dogs and alongside rescue workers from China, Japan, Turkey and elsewhere.

Their task is herculean. From up high, video drones are capturing the ruins of the city. Mounds of rubble sit alongside five-story buildings and pieces of wood look like spilled toothpicks.

The searchers were going from house to house, structure to structure to identify areas with the highest probability of survivors, and they remain on the lookout for buildings with air pockets and heavier concrete infrastructure where people could be stuck.


— Miguel Almaguer and Aarne Heikkila