Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Teacher dies helping pupils

Teacher dies helping pupils
(STANDARD) 14th May Wednesday 05:30AM

A teacher who had made it out of a collapsing school was killed when he went back in to retrieve the bags for two students.

Zhou Kaishun, 43, was described by many as a "good teacher" at Juyuan Middle School in Dujiangyan.

Only about 200 students escaped when the four-story building collapsed, trapping about 900 children.

Zhou went back in to prevent two students who wanted to retrieve their bags, from returning.

When Zhou's body was found, he was clutching the schoolbags.

Scores of family members broke down as the bodies of their children were extricated and placed in minibuses that served as temporary morgues.

"My child was only 15 ... He was my only hope. What am I going to do without him?" cried a mother.

One report said 50 students in one class were among those buried as the teacher told them to stay put. The only one who survived was a student who defied the order.

Some parents complained the school, built 10 years ago, collapsed because the contractors had cheated on the material and work. They pointed to nearby buildings built 20 years ago that had withstood the tremor.

At a chemical engineering plant in Shifang, workers returned to the site to help get their trapped colleagues out. They could only do so by removing the concrete piece by piece by hand, fearing that any heavy machinery would endanger those trapped inside.

In another collapsed building in Dongchuan, a child said through gaps in the rubble that she was cold, thirsty and hungry but not injured. "Mama, come save me quickly," the girl called out.

There was chaos on highways as victims trying to flee the affected areas attempted to get on outbound coaches through windows.

Our father God, do you really exist?

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