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Trapped in Haiti
Photo credit: Charlie Moore
January 11th, 2012
06:19 PM ET

Trapped in Haiti

Editor's note: AC360° Executive Producer Charlie Moore was on the ground in Haiti for nearly a month with Anderson Cooper after the earthquake struck two years ago. A few days ago, he and Anderson returned to the places where they documented catastrophic destruction, suffering and brave rescues from beneath the rubble. Tune in to CNN on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET for their full report.

It had been ten days since the earthquake hit and Ena Zizi was still buried. Somehow, miraculously, rescuers heard her faint cries and were now trying to find her under the rubble of the church that had collapsed on her.

Emergency rescue teams from Germany were tunneling into the rubble, sending men snaking through the concrete to look for a pocket where Ena might be found. Dogs climbed over and into the wreckage, barking when they “hit” on human scent.  The mountain of debris was massive – 30 feet high and around 200 feet long. It was big enough for two teams,  so on top of the debris a rescue team from Mexico was frantically digging and peeling back massive chunks of concrete and throwing them with a thud in every direction. Despite the frenzy, it was delicate work. They still didn’t know where Ena was buried, so throwing a slab of rock in the wrong direction could mean crushing the trapped woman. An even bigger fear was how easily the whole rock pile could shift.  Peeling out layers of the rubble meant changing the foundation, so at any moment the rescuers were worried the entire thing could collapse on itself.

The rescuers worked for hours, while continuing to hear Ena’s faint cries for help, which let them hone in on her location. As night approached there was a flurry of activity on the top of the debris pile. Then suddenly a frail and elderly woman, Ena Zizi, was yanked from a small air pocket surrounded by tons of stone. A huge cheer erupted from the rescue teams and the dozens of onlookers who had gathered. Rescue workers immediately formed a chain down the debris pile, passing her along and finally laying her on the grass, covering her with a thermal blanket and giving her water. A crowd of journalists pushed close to shoot pictures, while Ena Zizi rolled on the ground mumbling, clearly in pain.

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Filed under: Haiti • Haiti Earthquake