Paramedic tells of quake horrors

A HEROIC paramedic is due to return home to Suffolk today following a tireless rescue mission freeing victims of the Asian earthquake disaster.Andy Bambridge has spent six days searching for survivors, who were buried alive in mountains of rubble when the tragedy struck.

A HEROIC paramedic is due to return home to Suffolk today following a tireless rescue mission freeing victims of the Asian earthquake disaster.

Andy Bambridge has spent six days searching for survivors, who were buried alive in mountains of rubble when the tragedy struck.

As he neared the end of his mission last night, the 39-year-old East Anglian Ambulance Trust worker, from Thurlow, near Haverhill, said the harrowing images of men, women, and children trapped among the wreckage of an apartment block would stay with him for years to come.

Mr Bambridge, who is one of 15 RAPID UK members expected to have been withdrawn from the scenes of devastation to fly to Heathrow this morning, said: “We are all completely burnt out, but leaving here has given me mixed feelings.


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“It is great to finally be going home, but it is hard to leave when there is a chance there might be more survivors.”

Mr Bambridge and the team have rescued seven people from the wreckage, including a mother and a baby who were found two days after the earthquake hit.

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But despite rescuers remaining positive that more people will be discovered alive, hope is fast beginning to fade among local people in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, where Mr Bambridge is based.

“People seem to be resigning themselves to the fact there is no hope of finding loved ones, but there have been missions in the past where victims have been found up to ten days after an earthquake,” he said.

“After six days, things are starting to slow down. The emotional stress and physical strain of working 24/7 makes everyone pretty much exhausted, and the conditions - very hot during the day and cold at night - make it very difficult, but morale is still high.”

Another section of RAPID UK members, who flew out after Mr Bambridge and his colleagues were deployed on Saturday, will continue to sift through the wreckage after today, until another search and rescue team takes over.

Mr Bambridge said: “We have seen things that I would never want to repeat or discuss with anyone because they are just too horrible, and I am sure there will be times over the next few months, or even years, when everyone involved will look back on this and cry like a baby.

“But the only thing you can do is try and keep going, and put a brave face on things, while trying to deal with things in your own way.”

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