April 30, 2015 10:35 pm
Updated: May 1, 2015 7:02 am

4-month-old baby rescued from Nepal earthquake rubble


WATCH ABOVE: The death toll from the Nepal earthquake has now risen past 6000. Rescue teams pulled several survivors from the rubble yesterday, but there are many more stories of loss. Wendy Gillette reports.

BHAKTAPUR, Nepal – Nepalese photojournalist Amul Thapa smiled in spite of his hidden pain when he saw the scene he’ll remember always: Rescue workers pulling a 4-month-old boy from the wrecked home where he’d been trapped 20 hours after the earthquake.

Sonit Awal’s chubby cheeks were caked in chalky, concrete dust. One tiny fist curled tightly shut, the other seemingly covering his face.

READ MORE: 2 rescued from rubble in Nepal’s capital 5 days after earthquake

His 9-year-old sister was watching him when the magnitude-7.8 temblor struck at midday Saturday, collapsing many historic buildings in the town of Bhaktapur, just east of Nepal’s capital.

WATCH ABOVE: Nepal quake ‘miracle baby’ reunited with family

The children’s parents were both away but the girl managed to escape unhurt. When Thapa, who works with KathmanduToday.com, first heard Sonit’s cries, the baby was trapped under a wooden beam.

That beam “was supporting everything,” the 26-year-old remembers. To move it would have meant to bring even more danger to the trapped child.

Thapa’s own family in his hometown of Bhaktapur had suffered and his home had been destroyed but Thapa said when he heard the baby cry all he could think was “Please God, help him.”

In this Sunday, April 26, 2015, photo taken by Amul Thapa and provided by KathmanduToday.com, four-month-old baby boy Sonit Awal is held up by Nepalese Army soldiers after being rescued from the rubble of his house in Bhaktapur, Nepal.

(Amul Thapa/KathmanduToday.com via AP)

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Thapa was walking to the market on Saturday when he first heard of the baby trapped but he decided not to shoot that day.

“The atmosphere was not right.”

But he returned the next morning.

WATCH: Freelance writer Casey Fernandez Irwin on Nepal crisis

At 10 a.m. on Sunday, Nepalese army soldiers pulled out little Sonit.

“When I saw the baby alive all my sorrow went. Everyone was clapping. It gave me energy and made me smile in spite of lots of pain hidden inside me.”

The photographer said the baby appeared to have suffered only a small cut over his brow.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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