Kazakhstan woman survives Nepal earthquake08 may 2015, 19:08
Karaganda native Olga Tropynina was in Katmandu, when the devastating earthquake that claimed more than seven thousand lives, shook the Nepalese capital.
The woman from Kazakhstan said that she came to Kathmandu with her friend from Sweden Magnus Hedstrom, with whom she had traveled the world for a few years.
Tropynina and Hedstrom were intending to go to the mountains on April 26. The earthquake happened on April 25 and triggered avalanches in the mountains, including the Everest. Tropynina said this was a "lucky" coincidence they didn't go a day earlier.
When tremors began, Olga was outside in the old town to get some water, that part of Katmandu which later was almost completely destroyed. Magnus stayed in the hotel.
"At first I did not understand what was going on. And then it all happened very fast. I was shaken and tossed back and forth. It lasted for 20-30 seconds. There was some noise. And houses around wobbled from side to side. I’d never seen anything like that. I was afraid the power lines will start falling. Because there were a lot of cables there. All the Nepalis put their hands together in prayer and fixed their eyes upwards, starting to sing some mantras in a chorus. At first, I got my camera and began taking photos of what was going on around. And then I gradually began to understand what was happening," she said.
She added that at first she could not decide where to go, because the area had very narrow streets. Fear was so strong that the woman had trouble breathing. People around were running and screaming.
Suddenly, an unknown Chinese man approached her and said she could not stay there: they had to get out of the narrow streets. Olga never met him before but he saved her. “He is my hero!” she said.
They waited for a pause between tremors to run in a narrow corridor between buildings towards a big road.
"The Chinese guy was wearing a helmet. He told me: "You definitely need a helmet, if you see one – grab it immediately." And there we were, running in the middle of the road. Then he saw that right next to a high shaky wall there was a bike. And he went up right to the building, although it was very dangerous, quickly grabbed the helmet, brought it to me and said: "Put it on!"
Together they reached the city center that had wide open spaces. At the time, she had no time to assess the scale of the tragedy. Later she was told that many buildings were destroyed and thousands of people were killed.
“We were periodically shaken. It was as if someone was banging on the ground with his fist right in the place where I was sitting. In short, the earth came alive,” she said of the time they reached the open space.
The Chinese man lent Olga his bike, so she could find Magnus. She arrived at their hotel, but didn’t find him there. She came back to the field. Then the man from China explained to her that she should have left a note in the hotel. She went back and left it.
She found Magnus in the evening. He was looking for her in the streets that were almost completely destroyed. “He got really scared. Of course, we hugged and cried,” she said.
They tried finding refuge in a Dutch embassy but Olga was not let in with her passport and Magnus was told that there was no place inside since they had already accepted 10 tourists.
The two had to find something else. They stumbled upon a Russian cultural center. Many people were already in the center. “We slept under a plastic canopy for four nights. Rain was constantly pouring, and the earth trembled. And then we were promised that a Russian plane will evacuate us,” she said.
However, Magnus was not let on the plane because of his citizenship. Even though Magnus tried to persuade her to get out of Nepal, Olga decided to stay with him.
They were hoping to be evacuated by another Russian or Ukrainian plane. However, by that time, their laptop started receiving the signal from a nearby movie theater. So, not waiting any longer, they decided to get out on their own. Olga and Magnus went online and bought tickets to Turkey.
Now they are doing fine, resting in an Istanbul hotel.
And, believe it or not, they still want to go to the mountains.
By Dinara Urazova