By: Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – She’s called the miracle on Market Street.
Pulled from the rubble of the collapsed building where six others had already been found dead, 52-year-old Mariya Plekan told her attorney that after being buried under tons of rubble that she was amazed that she had survived.
“She just couldn’t believe it,” said attorney Andrew Stern. “She thought like anyone would think – that she wasn’t going to be found in time, and she just thanked God.”
Somehow a tiny hole, barely a foot wide, allowed her to breathe for nearly 13 hours.
“She was face down and there was rubble all around her and particularly on her lower extremities she was crushed,” said Stern.
The bottom half of her body totally crushed, she fought passing out from the pain, knowing to stay alive, she must stay awake, continuing to call out to rescuers and search dogs, who she could hear nearby.
“She’s calling out help, she’s calling out her name,” said Stern.
And in that 13th hour, she says she thought of her son and daughter, she prayed, and suddenly she was found.
“They call it the miracle on Market Street and in many ways it was,” her attorney said.
Rushed to the hospital, her devastating injuries meant that her fight for life continued.
“She has amputations on both sides leading up to the base of her hip,” said Stern. “They have basically removed half of the body surgically.”
The firefighters, the doctors, her family all played major roles, but in the end, it was Mrs. Plekan who just wouldn’t give up.
“She had such a will to live and to want to be here for her family, for her kids, and she is just hanging in there,” her attorney said.
The battle here at the hospital remains far from over. Mrs. Plekan remains in critical condition. She’s overcome a massive infection but she has many operations ahead.
Those who know her and love her are hoping, and praying, that she will continue to move forward.