Icelandic Team Rescues Quake Victims in Haiti

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Icelandic Team Rescues Quake Victims in Haiti

The Icelandic search and rescue team saved the lives of three earthquake victims yesterday, who were stuck in the rubble of the Caribbean Market in Port-au-Prince. The Icelandic team was one of the first to reach the city.

Icelandic search and rescue team members pull earthquake victims out of the rubble of the Caribbean Market in Port-au-Prince. Courtesy of ICE-SAR.

Lárus Björnsson, one of the team members, told Morgunbladid that locals had already found two young women inside the rubble but were unable to get to them.

“We brought our specialized equipment and pierced a hole in the wall so we could get into the air pocket that was there. That’s how we got them out,” Björnsson explained. The team rescued the third victim from the market’s rubble before nightfall.

The Red Cross estimates that up to 50,000 people have died since the earthquakes hit south of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday. Millions are injured or have lost their homes.

Around 80 foreign nationals were evacuated from Port-au-Prince with the plane chartered to deploy the Icelandic search and rescue team, according to a press release from Iceland’s Foreign Ministry.

The evacuees are from the US, Canada, Germany, UK and France. Most disembarked in Nassau in the Bahamas, but eight continued to Iceland before heading home.

Two collections have been launched in Iceland in support of earthquake victims in Haiti: the Red Cross has the donation hotline 904-1500 and Save the Children 904-1900. ISK 9 million (USD 72,000, EUR 50,000) were collected the first 24 hours, Morgunbladid reports.

Click here to read more about Icelandic rescue efforts in Haiti.