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Mexico: “Action!”, Claims the 87-year-old actress survivor of the earthquake

Ⓒ AFP – YURI CORTEZ – | Adela Peralta Leppe, 87, saved from the rubble of her building that collapsed during the earthquake in Mexico City hospital on September 26, 2017

“Light, cameras, action!”, Laughs, Adela, an eccentric 87-year-old actress, before telling AFP her incredible survival in the 19 September earthquake that killed more than 300 people in Mexico.

After the jolt, the old lady was stuck 32 hours under the rubble. Now hospitalized for two spinal fractures and injuries to the esophagus, she does not lose her smile: “I am alive and on the alert!”.

Before delivering her testimony, she made her coquette, demanding that she put on lipstick, a glamorous hat and a tiger stole.

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – RONALDO SCHEMIDT – | Adela Peralta Leppe, dressed as a clown at the Latin American Clown Convention in Mexico City on October 21, 2009

Throughout her career, Adela Peralta has been a featured, humorist, magician, world champion and committed feminist.

This mother of three is known as the oldest clown in Mexico, thanks to her character Tiki Tiki, whose red nose makes children laugh.

“I am a miracle of God,” she proclaimed.

Its building, just south of Mexico City, had emerged intact from the great earthquake of 1985, which had killed more than 10,000 people.

But last week’s shock, which killed more than 330 people, reduced it to crumbs and its apartment, located on the ground floor, was buried under a mountain of dust.

– Magic wand –

“When it started to shake,” she says, “a large one-meter block broke off, and the kitchen door blocked the entrance to the apartment.”

“The light went out and I found myself in a very uncomfortable position, I never managed to sit well during the 32 hours.”

During this endless wait, she had hallucinations, thinking she saw puppies and children playing. She also worried about her family.

“I was thinking about my three children and I was wondering” are they alive? “, I kept praying.

Ⓒ AFP – YURI CORTEZ – | Adela Peralta Leppe, 87, saved from the rubble of her building that collapsed during the earthquake in Mexico City hospital on September 26, 2017

On the other side, his daughter, Sara Peralta, had died of anguish. Many residents were rescued, but as the hours passed, only bodies emerged, including those of a grandmother entwined with her granddaughter, Sara says.

Then to bear the fear, Sara waved her mother’s magic wand: “Bibidi babidi bu, that Tiki Tiki appears here,” she said in the direction of the rubble. “People thought I was having a hysteria,” says Sara, happy to laugh.

Thirty hours after the earthquake, the rescuers were pessimistic: they could find no sign of life under the remains of the building and were only expecting to find the corpse of Adela, the last inhabitant disappeared.

– ‘Live, live, live!’ –

Recovering his body seemed mission impossible. Some have suggested using machines to move debris more easily.

“I fought like a madman” against this solution, says Sara.

Suddenly, in the dark, Adela heard a voice saying, “Madam, do not go, we’ll get you out of there.” “And I said to myself,” Where can I go, if I can not even get up? “Jokes the old lady.

Then the anguished silence of the waiting was broken by a cry: “It is alive, it is alive!” Exulted the rescuers when seeing the white head coming out of a narrow hole between stones and twisted metal bars. The crowd greeted the news with applause.

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – YURI CORTEZ – | Adela Peralta Leppe, 87, saved from the rubble of her building that collapsed during the earthquake in Mexico City hospital on September 26, 2017

This quasi-miraculous rescue was immortalized in a video filmed on September 20 by one of the firefighters who participated in the operation.

Adela remembers “the loud and cheerful applause of all people”. And even if she knows it in applause, after a whole life on stage, this one was “really special, it was a divine applause, absolutely wonderful for my heart,” she said, the voice broken by the ’emotion.

Her program, out of the hospital? “Live, live, live!”

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