I survived on Coca-Cola, says man rescued from Haiti rubble

Wismond Extanus

A 25-year-old Haitian man rescued on Saturday after spending 11 days buried in the ruins of a grocer’s shop survived on snacks and Coca-Cola, he told AFP in a hospital interview.

“I feel good,” said 25-year-old Wismond Exantus, after he became the latest Haitian victim of last week’s earthquake to be pulled from the rubble by international search and rescue teams.

“I survived by drinking Coca-Cola. I drank Coca-Cola every day, and I ate some little tiny things,” he explained, after having spent a week and a half stuck in his place of work, the “Napolitain” grocery.

“I felt the tremor and then I lost consciousness, and when I woke up I called out ‘Gerald! Gerald!’,” he said, referring to a co-worker.

He found himself caught in a small pocket in the rubble, able to move slightly to the left and right — and to bang on objects to try to attract the attention of passers-by — but unable to free himself.

“I didn’t shout, I just prayed,” he said, speaking in Creole.

Exantus’ brother Jean-Pierre Jeaneli told AFP that he had feared for him, but had been unable to approach the ruined shop — which lies in an unruly neighborhood plagued by looters — because of the police.

“I helped other people after the quake. I helped get them out of the rubble, but I couldn’t get to the shop because the police blocked people from going there,” he complained.

Earlier, French firefighters who had eventually pulled Exantus from the rubble confirmed that they had not been able to give his neighborhood the attention they wanted because of the security situation.

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