Cries of joy peeled from the mouths of elated parents as a joint New York City Police-Fire rescue team in Haiti pulled out two children alive from the rubble of a collapsed two-story building in Port-au-Prince.
Yet the miracle was tempered by a 6.1 magnitude aftershock that rocked the quake-shattered nation early Wednesday morning.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.1 magnitude quake hit at 6:03 a.m. about 35 miles northwest of the capital of Port-au-Prince. It struck at a depth of 13.7 miles but was located too far inland to generate any tidal waves in the Caribbean.
Wails of terror rose Wednesday from frightened survivors of the apocalyptic quake that struck eight days ago as people poured out of unstable buildings. Tens of thousands were feared dead after the earthquake hit the impoverished country last week, spurring a massive international relief effort still encumbered by the daunting recovery efforts that lay ahead. The decimated infrastructure makes it extraordinarily difficult for relief convoys to get through the ravaged country, and hundreds of Haitians are desperate for food and water that can't arrive fast enough.
But the New York team's rescue was cause for hope for those who still haven't heard from relatives or may remain lost under the rubble more than a week after the quake struck on Jan. 12.
Police spokesman Paul Browne says the 8-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl had been trapped for a week and were severely dehydrated. He said the children, pulled from the rubble that was illuminated by lights and generators the rescuers brought with them from New York, were rushed to an Israeli tent hospital where they were being treated.
Browne says the team recovered the bodies of the children's three siblings from the same site earlier in the evening Tuesday, but they were pronounced dead at the scene. He says a rescue team from Virginia joined the NYPD and FDNY in the effort.
Browne says the boy and girl, who are brother and sister, were the fifth and sixth individuals pulled alive from collapsed buildings by the New Yorkers since the 76-member team arrived in Haiti on Saturday.
Fortunately, all 76 members of the NYPD-FDNY rescue team, as well as the four police dogs accompanying them, are safe and accounted for in the aftermath of the 6.1-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti Wednesday morning. No one was injured, but team members did say they felt the ground's violent shaking caused by the earthquake tremors.