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Anthony Abraham, a 34-year-old crane driver, barely managed to get out of the way of falling steel. Turning around, he could hardly believe the horrible scene that lay before him.

Girders were piled on top of the crane in a haphazard fashion, like gigantic pick up sticks. All he could see of the machine was its rear wheels and a section of what had been the cab. Abraham raced to the cab, shouting his friend George Burns' name. As he reached the site, he could see blood oozing out of the sides of the cab. By then, three other iron workers had reached the scene of the carnage. One of them yelled, 'George, can you hear me?' Over the din of the diesel engine, a strained voice responded.

'I'm not sure if you can get me out of here, guys,' came George's voice. George could hardly move. The falling steel had crumpled his 4 by 6 foot cab into a crushed tin can. Although he was still in an upright sitting position in the operator's seat, the space had been reduced to that of a filing cabinet. He couldn't even brush away glass fragments from his eyes, as his arms were pinned down along with his chest and legs.

Steel fragments pressed down on his neck, dangerously close to his jugular. If the wreckage shifted he could be decapitated. Despite his unfortunate situation, George remembered the radio in his cab. He managed to flip the mike switch and asked, 'Is there anyone else hurt?' Anthony replied that that everyone was fine and that they'd have him out soon, although George didn't really see how.

Anthony, of course, had lied, as two others had died and the 20 firemen who had arrived were equally stumped as to how to get George out. Fire chief Robert Garr decided that the only way to get George out without crushing him was to cut away at the wreckage piece by piece. They would punch a hole using oxyacetylene torches and power saws.

It was a dangerous plan that could kill George and the other rescuers as well. Soon, firemen had cut away a piece of the cab's roof to reveal a bloodied George below. However, they soon realised that it would be impossible to free him by pulling him out, as his legs had been trapped by a mass of tangled pedals and wires. By then, another problem had set in. The temperature was falling and the cold made rescue work much more crucial.

Firemen got below the cab and frantically cut away metal to free George's legs. In the meantime, his wife and two grown sons had reached the scene to give George moral support and courage as he weakened due to his injuries. A trauma team fed him warmed saline through a drip to stabilise his body temperature.

After two more hours of frantic cutting, firefighters pulled George Burns out of the wreckage. Doctors at Nottinghill Hospital had to treat him quickly for severe hypothermia due to the cold and eventually had no choice but to amputate his severely damaged left foot. However, a year later, the indomitable George climbed back into the cab of his crane, fitted with a prosthesis, to lift steel.

   

Answer the following questions using complete sentences

 

1.

From paragraph 1, why was Anthony shocked ?

 

2.

From paragraph 2,

a) who was manning the crane ?

b) 'a section of what had been the cab ...'

  (i) What does this tell you about the condition of the cab ?

  (ii) What do you think crossed Anthony's mind when he saw the cab ?

 

3.

From paragraph 4,

a) why was George worried about his jugular vein ?

b) which word means 'unlucky' ?

 

4.

From paragraph 7,

a) why were the firemen working frantically ?

b) why did the paramedics insert warm saline ?

 

5.

In your own words, describe two qualities that George Burns possessed.
 

6.

Based on the passage given, write a summary of :

* the rescue, and

* the ways in which George Burns demonstrated his courage throughout the ordeal

Your summary must not be longer than 130 words, including the 10 words given below

After escaping the crash, Anthony raced to the wreckage and ...

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Answers
 

1.

The damage was unbelievable./The wreckage was devastating.
 

2.

a) George Burns

b) (i) It was badly damaged. (ii) He thought that George was killed or seriously injured.

 

3.

a) It could be severed/cut.

b) unfortunate

 

4.

a) They were running out of time/ They had to save George quickly./ George could freeze to death because of the cold weather.

b) To raise his body temperature/To prevent hypothermia/To keep him warm

 

5.

Brave/strong-willed/Tough/Resilient/Courageous
  6.

After escaping the crash, Anthony raced to the wreckage and found the crushed cab. He found George trapped in the cab of the crane, badly injured and steel fragments pressing on his neck. Still, Gorge remained strong and indomitable. Firemen quickly cut away at the cab and punched a hole using oxyacetylene torches and power saws. However, they couldn't pull him out as his legs were trapped. A his family gave him moral support, rescuers fed him warm saline through a drip to stabilise his body temperature due to freezing temperatures. After two hours, firefighters pulled George Burns out. Doctors treated him for severe hypothermia and had to amputate his left foot. However, George returned to work a a crane driver, with a prosthesis, one year later. (127 words)

 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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