Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Indonesia teen who amputated his leg recalls earthquake ordeal

For full story please visit the original Source: Los Angeles Times/John M. Glionna

Ramlan, who was working in Padang, Sumatra, when the 7.6 quake struck, knew he didn't want to die there. Now a celebrity, he says he merely 'did what I had to do to stay alive.'

Reporting from Galudra, Indonesia - The teenager lay dazed amid the settling dust and debris, his leg trapped by a fallen concrete wall. He sensed that he was going to die. So he made a decision: He would cut off his own limb to save his life. Ignoring the major blood loss, taking deep breaths as he concentrated on the terrible task at hand, the 18-year-old construction worker cut halfway through his right leg just below the kneecap.

Finally, too weak to continue, he begged for help, and a fellow worker finished the job for him in the aftermath of the magnitude 7.6 earthquake that struck Sumatra in September.

"I didn't want to die in that place," said the teenager, who goes by one name, Ramlan. "I did what I had to do to stay alive."

Every disaster delivers its own tales of bravery and superhuman strength. Amid the news reports of his exploits, Ramlan has become a hero across Indonesia, a survivor whose sheer will to live drove him to do the unthinkable.