Six people who survived on canned vegetables, fruit and pickles for 35 days after the Armenian earthquake were pulled alive from the basement of a collapsed apartment building in Leninakan, Tass reported Thursday.
The survivors were rescued Wednesday, Tass said, the 35th day after the Dec. 7 earthquake that killed an estimated 25,000 people in northwest Armenia. Rescuers last pulled a person alive from the wreckage Dec. 26, Tass said.The six men were found under the rubble in the basement of a nine-story apartment building which had collapsed on them, the official Soviet news agency said in a report from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
They survived because there was plenty of canned food stored in the basement, Tass said. All are hospitalized in Yerevan but none are in danger, doctors told the news agency.
Tass did not say how the six men were found or who rescued them. Officials had ended the search for survivors weeks ago, saying it was necessary to clear away the rubble to prevent disease spreading from decayed bodies.
Authorities have been demolishing buildings that could not be rebuilt after the earthquake.
One of the six survivors, Aikaz Akopyan, had medical training and administered massages to the others to relieve the pain of their injuries, Tass said.
"On the day of the earthquake, I asked five neighbors to help me carry two heavy jars to the basement," Akopyan was quoted as telling Tass. "Just then, we suddently heard a terrible roar. The walls began to collapse. I thought a war had started."
Akopyan, 50, said they never had to worry about food and water because the basement was used to store tins of vegetables, fruits and pickles.