Chinese armed police on Thursday rescued an elderly couple, aged 92 and 84, after they had been stranded in an isolated mountain in southwestern Sichuan Province for 11 days because of the devastating earthquake.
The childless couple, Tian Yueqing and Cao Shuyun, lost contact with their villagers and were trapped in their cottage in Tai'an Village on top of Qingcheng mountain, which is close to Dujiangyan City.
The Chinese Armed Police rescue team found the couple during a large-scale search and carried them with stretchers to another village at the foot of the mountain.
They made the couple a tent and brought them beds, food, water and other daily necessities.
The quake death toll in Sichuan alone reached 55,239 as of 7:00 PM Thursday, with 281,066 injured and 24,949 missing. About 83,988 people were rescued, according to the Sichuan Provincial government.
By 10:00 May 22, the aviation units of China People's Liberation Army had flown 1,200 flights to disaster-hit areas, more than 86 percent of which were to remote villages in mountains.
"Since land transportation to quake-struck areas gets smooth, the priority of aircraft rescue is now on remote villages," said Ma Xiangsheng, a senior People's Liberation Army official, who is in charge of aftermath observation and air transportation.
(Xinhua News Agency May 23, 2008)