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Building collapse survivor speaks

A survivor of the Center City building collapse told her story.
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
For one of the survivors of the Center City building collapse, this has been a torturous year, and for the first time, she has spoken to Action News.

53-year-old Mariya Plekan is in constant pain, her legs have been amputated up to her hips and she needs 24 hour medical care.

On Tuesday, through tears and an interpreter, she mustered the courage to share her memory of the day of the building collapse.

"I was just praying all the time that was someone going to find me and hear me," Plekan said.

She remembers being on the left side of the Salvation Army when the brick and metal fell on top of her.

"When everything collapsed, the big brick wall made a little crack and I made a hole. I tried to breathe and it was possible to see light," Plekan said.

The air through that crack of light kept her alive until a rescue dog found her.

"I felt someone standing on my head and I started to push myself to scream 'help' and I think in that moment, the dog heard me," Plekan said.

Six people died that day, 14 were injured.

Mariya had infections so bad and a myriad of other complications, doctors thought she would not make it.

The Ukrainian immigrant moved to Kensington more than a decade ago to be a caregiver for a sick relative.

Now, her grown children who are from Ukraine are alternating their stays in America on six month visas.

"I feel strong because of my kids; it's helped me a lot with my kids here," Plekan said.

As for the people police say are responsible for the catastrophe, contractor Griffin T. Campbell and crane operator Sean Benschop, Plekan said, "When I look at people responsible for this, I look at their face and say how am I supposed to live now?"

Mariya's attorney said they are working to get her children to the US permanently.

Related Topics:
news philly news collapse Center City Philadelphia
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