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Woman Says She Was Abandoned, Then Rescued, During East Harlem Blast

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — During the East Harlem building explosion this week, cellphone video captured the daring rescue of a 79-year-old woman who said she had been abandoned in a medical van.

As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, deliveryman Sammy Carrasquillo has his cellphone on moments after the explosion, which killed eight people Wednesday morning. He appears on video responding to the pleas for help coming from inside a debris-covered ambulette.

Inside was Edlene Mosley. 79. She was being taken to a medical appointment when the van was caught in the blast.

“All I heard was ‘kaboom.’ and I thought the van was going down,” Mosley said.

She said the ambulette driver and her home health aide both jumped out of the vehicle and ran off – abandoning her.

Alone in the ambulette, Mosley said she was praying, and she was shouting for help. She said that was when Carrasquillo, the man she now calls her hero, came running up.

“He said, ‘I’m going to take you out. Come,’” she said. “‘I said: ‘I can’t move. I had two bad legs.’”

Carrasquillo found two men to help him get Mosley to safety a block away. Soon afterward, she was on the ground surrounded by paramedics and the good Samaritans.

“I would say, thank them very much – I appreciate it. Thank them for saving my life; God had sent them in the right time,” she said.

Mosley escaped this ambulette — losing her IDs and her walker. But with help from strangers, she held on to her life.

CBS 2 reached out to the ambulette driver to get his side of the story, but there had been no response as of Friday night.

FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano said Friday that all those reported missing in the explosion had been accounted for by Friday, but stressed the rescue operation would continue in case there are still victims trapped in the rubble.

And the Red Cross on Friday night was preparing to close its shelter for explosion survivors at the 125th Street Salvation Army shelter. But the Real Estate Board of New York has offered 34 apartments where displaced families can stay for three months.

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