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Man found alive 2 days after being swept away by Philippines typhoon

Reuters

Typhoon survivor Carlos Agang lies on a stretcher after he was found alive Thursday.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET: NEW BATAAN, Philippines – Rescue workers found a 54-year-old man clinging to a boulder by a river – injured but alive – two days after a powerful typhoon ravaged the south of the Philippines.

At least 420 people were killed and nearly 400 are missing, The Associated Press reported Thursday, citing Philippines authorities.

All Carlos Agang had to eat was coconut and water until he was found in a tattered shirt with a fractured leg and bruises by a group of rescue volunteers in New Bataan town in Compostela Valley, the province worst hit by Typhoon Botha. Reuters initially reported he was 77, but later corrected his age.

"I can't believe it. I didn't expect to see people survive two days after they were swept by flood and mud," fire volunteer Mark Roman Jumilla told Reuters.


"For two days, he survived on coconut and water. He lost his family when floodwaters swept a temporary shelter area where he and his family sought refuge," Jumilla said.

Rescuers also found a pregnant woman on the other side of the river with her one-year son after escaping floods that swamped their house after Typhoon Bopha hit land on Tuesday.

"It happened so fast. Water came rushing to us while we were leaving our house to move to safer grounds," Lenlen Medrano, 23, told Reuters as she was being carried by soldiers in a stretcher.

"I prayed hard over and over until we found ourselves on the riverbank," she added.

A Reuters photographer saw four bodies near the spot where Agang was rescued. The river's current was strong, making it hard for rescue teams to reach other survivors.

'Entire families were washed away' as Typhoon Bopha hits

The death toll could rise further, with local government officials reporting hundreds missing.

An intense, powerful typhoon has cut across the Philippines triggering landslides and flash floods on the island of Mindanao. ITN's Jane Deith reports. Warning: The story contains some disturbing images.

PhotoBlog: Grief amid Bopha's destruction

About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, often causing death and destruction. Almost exactly a year ago, Typhoon Washi killed 1,500 people in Mindanao.

Arturo "Arthur" Uy, governor of Compostela Valley, said search and rescue operations were continuing, particularly in far-flung areas in New Bataan town, where a three-year old child was plucked from under a crumpled house on Wednesday, more than 24 hours after the typhoon made landfall. The child's mother and a sibling are missing.

Erik De Castro / Reuters

Rescuers on Thursday evacuate a pregnant woman with her child who survived flooding in New Bataan, Philippines.

"I believe we can rescue more people," Uy told Reuters. "We evacuated people from riverbanks and shorelines. But the floods and strong winds battered not just the riverbanks but also places where residents were supposed to be safe."


A few residents in Compostela Valley started repairing their houses, but for majority, rebuilding will not be easy.

"I don't know what to do now," coconut farmer Roger Calarian told Reuters while queuing for a rice ration at the center of New Bataan town. "I lost my house, I lost my livelihood. I want to rebuild my hut but I don't think I have the energy to do that now."

Calarian said he and his wife were lucky to have survived when coconut trees crashed on their house on Tuesday. "We prayed, hugged each other until the winds calmed down, and then we crawled out to safety," he added. 

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