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Teenage girl rescued from Haiti rubble 15 days on

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - A teenage girl was pulled alive from under a collapsed house in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday, 15 days after Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

A Haitian girl is rescued by a French team after being in the rubble for more than two weeks in Port-au-Prince January 27, 2010. REUTERS/St Felix Evens

She was severely dehydrated and had a leg injury but was conscious when she was dragged out of the rubble by French and Haitian rescuers.

“I don’t know how she happened to resist that long. It’s a miracle,” said rescue worker J.P. Malaganne, adding that the girl, named Darline, was happy, shocked and crying.

“She will live. She is only 16 years old and she has her whole life ahead of her,” said Colonel Michel Orcel, a French doctor. “We are providing the care she needs and she will be OK.”

Someone heard the girl’s voice and urged local Red Cross and civil protection workers to send rescuers to the site, said Stephan Sadak, a member of the French rescue team.

The girl was trapped between a collapsed wall and a door in the remains of her home near a school in Haiti’s coastal capital, which was destroyed by a Jan. 12 earthquake.

“She was able to survive because she wasn’t crushed by the rubble and there was a space where she could lie down,” Sadak told Reuters.

Rescuers did not know if she had water or food with her. “It’s possible she may have had something, but not much,” Sadak said.

One man fed her candy as rescuers neared her and a throng of neighbours cheered as she was pulled free 90 minutes after they arrived.

More than 130 people have been rescued from the rubble since the quake hit, surprising experts who believed they would not find so many survivors.

“It’s not at all usual. It’s exceptional,” said Sadak.

Haitians are still appealing to search teams to go to new sites.

“We are the best team in the world!” the elated crew shouted in French after she was taken away by ambulance to a field hospital.

Writing by Doina Chiacu and Jane Sutton; Editing by Kieran Murray