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China search and rescue team returns from Nepal

Updated: May 9,2015 10:22 AM     Xinhua

The China International Search and Rescue team arrives at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, May 8, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

A 62-member China International Search & Rescue Team landed in Beijing on May 8 after a 13-day mission in Nepal in which they were the first foreign team to save a survivor in the quake field.

All the team’s members, as well as six sniffer dogs, have returned safely, said team leader Huo Shufeng at Beijing Capital International Airport.

The team, most members of which have rescue experience following the devastating quakes in Haiti and Japan, arrived in Nepal on the afternoon of April 26, one day after an 8.1-magnitude earthquake jolted the Himalayan country.

During their stay in Nepal, they rescued two survivors from the rubble, treated more than 2,700 victims, and cleared about 430 buildings, Huo said.

“The rescue of the second survivor was the most difficult since our team was established. It took us 34 hours,” said Tao Zongpeng, a senior member of the team.

China International Search & Rescue Team, founded in 2001, is qualified by International Search and Rescue Advisory Group External Classification to be a heavy urban search and rescue team. This was its 10th international mission.

The team has never allocated so many personnel in an international mission nor left its base at such short notice before, according to Huo.

Nepal Ambassador to China Mahesh Kumar Maskey thanked China for its immediate support.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed, and China is such a true friend of Nepal,” Maskey said, expressing hope that China can offer more help in the country’s post-disaster reconstruction.

The death toll from the earthquake climbed to 7,885 on May 8, with 17,803 others injured.