05/20/2008, 00.00
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Man rescued after nine days beneath rubble

It took 30 hours of work to free him. The death toll has grown to more than 34,000, while it is feared that it will reach 71,000. The three days of national mourning continue today.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A 31-year-old man has been miraculously rescued from the ruins of a hydroelectric plant in Wenchuan, the epicentre of the earthquake in Sichuan, after almost nine days.  The rescuers, a group from Shanghai, saved him after 30 hours of work.

Ma Yuanjiang, aged 31, was vice chairman of the hydroelectric plant Yingxiu Bay.  When the earthquake struck, he was in the conference room.  The entire plant and its offices imploded during the earthquake.  But he was located on May 18.  After making an opening, the rescuers gave him sugar water through a straw, until they were able to pull him out of the rubble at 12:50 last night.

Ma is now in the military hospital of Chongqing, but will soon be transferred to a hospital in Chengdu.

The death toll from the earthquake in Sichuan is 34,043.  But it is estimated that it will rise above 71,000.  It is believe the more than 10,000 people are still buried beneath the rubble, but the hopes for finding people still alive are fading.

The seismology institute of Sichuan warned that between yesterday and today, the aftershocks reached between 5 and 6 on the Richter scale.  Yesterday in Chengdu, thousands of panicked people spent the night on the streets or in the town squares.  From the United States, the Geological Survey last night recorded a shock of magnitude 5.5 in Sichuan.

As of yesterday, three days of national mourning were declared in China and in Chinese diplomatic offices around the world.

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