NASA device helps rescue workers find trapped survivors in Nepal
NEPAL (KUSI) – Just two weeks after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, rescue efforts have continued to find people trapped under the rubble of fallen buildings.
According to officials from NASA, new technology is allowing rescue workers to detect heartbeats under the wreckage.
A radar detector known as ‘FINDER’ or ‘Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response’ was, able to locate two survivors in a collapsed factory and two other people in a different building in Chautara, Nepal who were trapped under 10-feet of debris.
“I’m very gratified that it did its job — it’s the first time that Finder’s ever been used in an actual disaster situation,” James Lux, Finder’s task manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “You’ve done the best you can, you put it out there, and it worked.”
The device weighs less than 20 pounds and uses radar to search for the tiny motions that are caused by a beating heart.
“It looks for the reflections coming back,” Lux explained. “The rubble reflections don’t move, but the reflections from the people who are alive inside do.”
According to the Nepali Home Ministry, the death toll has reached 7, 912 people.
A total of 17, 871 people have been reported injured.
A total of 2, 97, 266 houses were completely destroyed and 10, 803 government buildings collapsed during the quake.
“This is a different way to solve the problem of looking for people,” Lux said. Rescuers in a disaster zone, he added, “use all the tools in the toolbox — and this is another one to add to the list.”