Airborne Troops of People's Liberation Army (PLA), rescuers
On May 13, a 15-member elite airborne paratrooper unit was ordered to make rescue operations in the Maoxian County, an isolated place near the epicenter.
To these skilled soldiers, however, it was by no means an easy task, because they had to drop down to the exact spot from over 4,000 meters altitude, without any ground guidance and control, visible marks and signals, not to mention awareness of current meteorological conditions. Fortunately, they landed safely half an hour later.
The paratroopers paved the way for the ambulance by standing hand in hand alongside the road
"Look, the PLA is coming! We can be saved," shouted local residents, many of whom burst into tears when they saw their rescuers.
The paratroopers began rescue operations without a moment's delay. In collaboration with the armed forces, frontier forces and firefighters, they scanned the rubble meticulously for survivors.
At 6:30 p.m. on May 16, Yang Deyun, 51, was pulled out of the rubble in Yinghua Town, Shifang City, after being buried for 100 hours. The paratroopers paved the way for the ambulance by standing hand in hand alongside the road. A Japanese TV reporter was moved to tears by the scene.
Bystanders voluntarily followed what they had done at another rescue site, by simply waiting for another miracle to happen, linking hands atop the rubble.