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Indian-American Doctor Trapped For 50 Hours In Haiti Quake

PTI 19 Jan 2010, 11:59:41 IST

New Jersey doctor Sarla Chand, a  65-year-old Indian-Amercan, went to Haiti to attend an IMA World Health meeting two days before the killer earthquake. She  had a miraculous escape from beneath tons of rubble where she was buried for 50 hours in a collapsed Port-au-Prince hotel, reports an Indian news website rediff.


A slightly-bruised but traumatized Sarla Chand came back home to Teaneck, New Jersey,on Saturday night, after she was evacuated and sent to the Dominican Republic from where she travelled to Miami and then onto Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Friday night.

"I went to drive my mom back home from the airport," Shiraz Lall, Chand's elder son said.

Chand could not speak to rediff.com as she was resting, but her son said, his mother, vice president of IMA World Health's international programs, which takes care of tropical diseases in developing countries, and two other American employees, had just finished a meeting at the Montana Hotel in the Haitian capital when the quake struck.

"My mom was standing with her colleagues at the entrance of the hotel after the meting, discussing where they could go for dinner when the hotel Montana began to tremble. In no time the building started to collapse and a piece of concrete hit her head trapped as she was under concrete," Lall said.

Describing his mother's ordeal, he said "She was trapped under rubble and lay underneath all alone for 50 hours before she was pulled out from that small crevice. She told me later that she tried crawling within that small little space looking for a hole. She never gave up, being a brave woman," Lall said.

"Almost two days later, my mom discovered a hole in the concrete through which she could see the trees outside as well as the sunlight. After her persistent screaming, a firefighter came to her help and ultimately rescued her," Lall said.

'I've always said that I'm a blessed woman. And after this experience, I repeat these words,' Chand was quoted as saying soon after arrival on Monday  night.