Today's local Florida paper, the SunSentinel, Jan. 19, has a photograph of Mireille Dittmer, whom I wrote about yesterday. She's now in Boca Raton Community Hospital after being trapped in the wreckage of a supermarket in Haiti for more than five days. Luckily, she has no serious injuries beyond bruises. "It's amazing she didn't sustain serious injuries," said her doctor.
Mireille told a reporter that she had no sense of day and night in the wreckage. Steel bars formed a cocoon around her and she was in a kneeling position for 108 hours. Doctors said a person can survive six to eight days without water. She was trapped more than five days, although she guessed that it was eight or more.
Mireille said that the only thing that gave her hope was her Catholic faith,. During the days of darkness she spoke and prayed with five other trapped people, although she never saw their faces. She remembered a family--a man, woman and child. "We just kept singing hymns in French," she said.
When she heard rescuers on the fifth day she called out "Help. I'm thirsty." A firefighter from Fort Lauderdaler, Lt. Jeremy Rifflard, taped a bottle of water to the end of a stick and passed it to her. Ultimately she discovered he was her neighbor in South Florida.
Mireille told the reporter --concerning the family trapped in the rubble with her--she knew that the woman did not survive but thinks the man and child were saved after she was.
It's terrible to think of those who will be dying now after so many days without water, but every rescue like Mireille's is a solace and proof that miracles do happen.
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