Peshawar attack: How rescuers braved bullets for call of duty

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Peshawar, Dec 18: Unparalleled courage was displayed by a group of rescuers who put their lives at stake to move the dead and wounded out of the school building in Peshawar in Pakistan where terrorists unleashed a bloodbath Tuesday.

In one of the worst acts of human savagery ever perpetrated, the Pakistani Taliban slaughtered 148 people, 132 of them children, in a brazen attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in retaliation to the army's operation against extremists in North Waziristan.

As bullets flew around and suicide bombers blew themselves up one by one in the face of a counter assault by the security forces, the workers of Rescue 1122 rushed to the call of duty, according to a report in the Dawn Thursday.

"The commandos repeatedly asked us to stay away from them for our safety, but we were determined to rescue the injured students immediately," said a worker of the Rescue 1122.

Sharing his experience of the deadliest day of his career, he said that it did not come to his mind even for a while that a bullet could hit him, during the 10-hour long rescue operation.

Mohammad Ayaz, director of operations of Rescue 1122, told Dawn that his team provided first aid to 120 wounded students on the spot after their evacuation and in the ambulance while shifting them to the hospitals.

He said that 94 bodies were also shifted by the rescue workers.

"Initially, a student informed Rescue 1122 about the incident and sought help," Ayaz said, adding that 18 ambulances of the rescue group were moved to the school immediately.

Ayaz said that unconscious wounded students were immediately provided oxygen inside the ambulance. The blood oozing out of the wounds of students was stopped through bandage available in the ambulance, he added.

The rescuers were divided into several groups and deployed at different spots to minimise casualties if militants hurled a hand grenade at them or opened firing at them, he said.

"I personally managed traffic from school to the road because traffic police were not allowed inside the school," the director operation said.

"Our ambulance was like a mini hospital," Kamal Shah, emergency officer of Rescue 1122, told Dawn. He said that many wounded students were saved because they were immediately provided treatment inside the ambulance.

"However, I couldn't sleep the entire night and was weeping while remembering the crying students," Shah said, adding that his colleagues faced a similar situation.

IANS

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