Maybe one should not call it a miracle — since hundreds of thousands of miracles are not happening there today. But the story shown on PBS NewsHour Monday night was an almost unbelievable unfolding of human drama, modern technology-to-the-rescue, sheer determination and enduring love. If you can watch it without tears you might need to check your heart-tug mechanism.
In the video segment, Bill Neely of Independent Television News shows a Haitian man who has returned repeatedly to the rubble of a bank where his wife was when the earthquake struck. He is seen rushing to a new area being cleared and digging with his hands, certain she is buried there, and alive. It’s been six days since the disaster. Thinking he hears a noise he calls for silence, listens again and shouts, “She’s there! She’s alive!”
Neely puts a mike in the small hole from which the woman’s voice can be heard, and a brief exchange in French confirms she is indeed alive and well — and thirsty. To her husband she calls out, “Even if I die, I love you so much. Don’t forget it.”
Then a group of firefighters from Los Angeles arrive on the scene with the tools and equipment needed finally to extricate the woman. They worry about after-shocks and the diminishing amount of time left to them all: “Once it goes, it goes.” But a tiny camera inserted into the hole reveals where her hand is pinned, and as soon as it is set free she can be pulled from the rubble. She says, “Thank you, God,” and flat on the ground bursts into song. It’s a song about not being afraid of death.
“Did you think you would live?” Neely asks, and she says, “Live? Why not?”
It has been three hours since she was discovered by a never-say-die husband. She gets into the front seat of a car, and they drive slowly away.