ESWN draws our attention the heart-rending story of Chen Jian. Be very sure you watch all the way to the fourth video, or don’t watch at all if you don’t intend to cry today:
Part 1: It’s May 15 at the start of this video, and 26 year old Chen Jian has already been trapped under the rubble for 73 hours. While waiting for the lifting equipment to arrive, he chatted with the reporter Zhang Qian (张倩), and said: “I am a lucky as well as unlucky person in the Beichuan earthquake. I felt that I escaped from the hands of Death. Many of the others are less fortunate. I am pinned underneath three pieces of pre-fabricated slabs and I cannot move. I have not eaten anything for three days and three nights. I only drank some water. I must be strong. I have to be strong. I have to be strong for everyone who loves me. I must live for their sakes, because they have been so good to me. I hope that you can be just like me and not be intimidated by any hardship [Translation by ESWN]”. Rescue workers assure Chen Jian that they will be there for him and will bring him out alive. The journalist puts Chen Jian on the phone with the anchor back at Sichuan Television so he can get word out to his wife that he is okay and will be out really soon. In the very short conversation, he tells the anchor he has no big dreams in life but to live peacefully and quietly with his wife for the rest of their lives.
Part 2: The equipment has arrived and rescue workers set about to extricate Chen Jian from the rubble as night falls. After six long hours of hard work they finally set the man free.
Part 3: Now that he’s out, Chen Jian suddenly stops chatting and responding. The rescue workers and the reporter call out to him, “Chen Jian! Chen Jian! Wake up!” but Chen Jian does not respond. An officer proceeds with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but to no avail. Chen Jian passes away quietly, and everyone in the team breaks down. The officer said to Chen Jian between sobs, “You foolish man. You held on for so long already. Why can’t you hold on a bit longer? You foolish man. [Translation by ESWN]” Meanwhile, the reporter cries her eyes out.
Part 4: After learning of Chen Jian’s death, the Sichuan TV news anchor who had earlier spoken with him on the phone breaks down on air and says, “I feel extremely sad. When we did the phoner, the sound quality was really bad, and everything was broken in between. We only knew a young man had been trapped under the rubble, and that he just wanted to let his wife know he was okay. We did not know he was Chen Jian, and that he had been trapped under the rubble for 73 hours then. Today when I saw him in the news, it only struck me then that this was his situation. Watching the news, we saw with our own eyes how such a strong man, such a strong life, slip away from you like that. I terribly terribly regret that I cut him short that day and wish I had given him more time to speak. That voice was so close to me. That life was so close to us.”
Another plug for this photo-story posted on ESWN of a 10 year old girl named Li Yi (WARNING: Extremely graphic photos) captioned by Reuters thus, “Li Yi, 10, screams as her left leg is amputated to rescue her from the ruins of a collapsed building at Miaoba primary school in earthquake-hit Beichuan county, about 99 miles, northeast of the epicenter at Wenchuan county, Sichuan province, May 15, 2008.”
You may also want to check this collection of 300 photos posted by ESWN, which has been accessed so many times that ESWN has busted its bandwidth limit. It is the best collection of Sichuan earthquake pictures that we know of in one place.