October 17, 2005

Positivity: Quake Hero Saves Seven Lives

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:05 am

Amid the earthquake misery in Pakistan, a dog handler has saved lives and improved spirits:

Quake hero helps save seven lives

A FORMER Blackpool police dog handler has helped save seven people from the rubble of the Pakistan earthquake.
Mick Swindells flew out to South East Asia to lend his extensive search and rescue skills to the desperate hunt for survivors.
And the expert dog handler – who is part of the joint operation by international rescue charities CANIS and Rapid UK – has already had some amazing success.
Mr. Swindells said: “We have managed to find seven people alive in the wreckage, including two elderly people. We have also located more than 40 bodies in the collapsed buildings.”
The latest survivor to be recovered by the team working in the devastated city of Islamabad was pulled out of the rubble yesterday.
Mr. Swindells said: “The feeling you get when you find someone alive is just incredible. You’re working so hard for so long. A discovery like this just brings the whole place alive and gives us hope.”
The ex-Fylde officer has been working at the Margala Towers complex in Islamabad. Two towers at the residential complex collapsed in the quake, which struck on Saturday, killing at least 20,000 people. The operation is the latest distressing mission for Mr. Swindells, a former Blackpool-based sergeant, who has travelled the world as a dog trainer, specialising in human detection.
Missions took him to war-torn Bosnia to uncover mass graves and also to the Falklands to try to find the remains of soldiers missing in action.
Speaking from Islamabad, Mr Swindells, said the work was hard, but was bringing results.
He added: “At the moment we’re stood down for a short time while bulldozers go to work on the rubble. We’re watching for voids, gaps in the debris where we might find people who were trapped in the collapse.”
Mr. Swindells, who flew out at the start of this week, is expecting to remain in the ruined city until at least Saturday, but will remain as long as his services are needed.
He said: “As long as we can be of use, it is important to be in Pakistan to help in any way we can.”

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