A man has been rescued from the rubble of a mosque days after it was flattened by a devastating magnitude-6.9 earthquake which hit Indonesia’s Lombok island, an official said Tuesday.
“Thank God someone was rescued from the collapsed mosque. Let’s hope more will be saved,” National Disaster Management Agency spokesman, Sutopo Nugroho, said on Twitter.
In a video posted by Nugroho, a man wearing a robe and a Muslim skull cap was seen crying as he was helped to walk by rescuers after being pulled from the rubble.
The official death toll from Sunday’s quake was released late Monday by the national disaster management agency and stands at 98, while a local government official told news channel Metro TV that 142 had died.
The bodies of three people have been pulled from the mosque’s concrete ruins since the rescue operation involving a mechanical excavator began on Monday, Metro TV reported.
Nugroho said there were two and a half rows of worshippers in the mosque in Tanjung village at the time of the earthquake.
Muhammad Maruf, one of the worshippers who was performing an evening prayer when the quake struck, said he managed to escape the ruins with six other people.
“The imam was reciting Koranic verses when the earth shook violently.
“Everyone ran to the back and the mosque immediately collapsed. I held on to a column and then escaped through the ruins,” Maruf told Metro TV.
Another 236 people were injured and more than 20,000 were displaced after their homes were damaged or destroyed in the quake, the disaster management agency reported.
Nugroho said the death toll was expected to increase as rescue workers reached more areas.
The quake struck exactly a week after a slightly weaker tremor caused 20 deaths on Lombok, a popular resort island.
Indonesia sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area known for frequent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
SOURCE: Agency report