Dharwad building collapse: Man licks sweat to survive for over 60 hours

With four people trapped under debris being pulled out alive on Friday, doctors said the survivors are in good health and have strong will power.

Published: 23rd March 2019 06:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd March 2019 08:49 AM   |  A+A-


Dharwad building collapse site

Express News Service

DHARWAD: Sangamesh Ramangouda will be remembered long for his heroic survival, will power and confidence to live through a whopping 60-hour ordeal under the debris at the tragedy site in Dharwad.
Sangamesh was among many who were stuck under the rubble of the collapsed building at Kumareshwara Nagar in Dharwad, but he was one among very few to survive for that long. What kept Sangamesh alive was his sheer will power and will to live. 

Sangamesh and his elder sister 
(Photo | D Hemanth, EPS)

“Water was the one thing I needed the most. I licked my own sweat to quench my thirst. There was dust all around me and it was difficult to breathe initially. The first two days I did not lose hope and continued to stay strong hoping that I will be rescued. I was unable to guess the time as it was dark inside but I could sense the afternoons as the debris used to get hotter.

Then came a moment when I thought it was the end and I will never come out of this. I heard sounds of earthmoving machines near me. This happened yesterday (Thursday) evening and I decided to stay strong till the rescue teams could reach me,” Sangamesh told TNIE.

“My office is located on the first floor and when the building collapsed, I managed my way till the ground floor with the help of large cement blocks. I come from a poor background and since childhood I have experienced starving. All this might have helped me ignore my hunger and thirst and survive the 60-odd hours,” he said.

“I recalled the ordeal of Siachen braveheart Hanumanthappa Koppad, who is also from Dharwad district. I said to myself when he can survive, I could too. I kept praying to God and also spoke to several victims who were trapped closer to me. There were people stuck around me but separated by walls or debris. Some of them spoke for two days and later I could not hear them. Every time a voice vanished, I felt that I needed more courage and willpower to survive the ordeal. Then the rescue team members somehow came closer and I shouted for help. I was provided with water and oxygen and I must thank all present in the rescue team,” he said. 

Volunteers offering tea to NDRF personnel in Dharwad
on Friday. (Photo | D Hemanth, EPS)

Willpower makes all the difference: Experts 
Strong willpower can see many people through difficult times during calamities. With four people trapped under debris being pulled out alive on Friday, doctors said the survivors are in good health and have strong will power. District Surgeon Giridar Kokanor said when a concrete structure collapses, it leaves very little space for air as dust gathers in no time. Many factors come into play it comes to surviving for long hours without food and water.

Age factor is most important. Young kids and the elderly may not survive more than a day without any aid. Also, it depends on the individual’s health condition, he said. “Above all, confidence and willpower are the most important to survive during calamity,” he said. “Human body requires water (intake) almost every hour. But the people who were trapped inside had no chance of drinking any water. Patience and willpower were the only things that made them stay alive till the help reached,”  he said.


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