“I am happy to be alive,” said Kamalakar as he lay on a bed at the Gandhi Hospital on Tuesday. That is an understatement, to say the least. The man, aged 40, was pulled out from the debris of the City Light Hotel after being trapped for almost 18 hours.
And guess what, he came out almost unscathed, barring minor wrist and foot injuries. A native of Malkam village in Bidar, Karnataka, he had been working at the hotel for the last six years as a waiter. Rescued around 12.30 a.m., he was brought to the hospital in half-an-hour. Understandably, he was still in a daze a few hours later and was trying hard to get some sleep. He couldn’t recollect much. The frightening moments when he went under the rubble are hazy in his mind.
“It all happened suddenly. I was on duty when the walls came apart. I was going about my routine work on the ground floor. I did not realise the building had collapsed. Luckily, not much had fallen on me,” he recalled with some difficulty.
“My right hand was trapped and I was unable to move an inch due to pain,” he continued. He kept screaming for help as he could hear voices nearby. For 18 agonising hours, none heard him. “There was no one else near me and I could not see much around. I was becoming weak and thirsty but I was positive and hopeful,” he said, adding, “I am very happy I am alive today.”
Duty doctors at the disaster ward in the hospital said he was just fine. “He has only soft tissue injuries. His health is stable and fine. There is nothing to worry,” said RMO Prameela.
Relieved after the near-death experience, Kamalakar is waiting for his family to arrive even as he tries to get some sleep. But some others were not as lucky as him.