Heroes' welcome as quake rescuers fly home

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The Independent Online

British rescue workers have arrived home to a heroes' welcome after spending a week searching for survivors of the Indian earthquake.

British rescue workers have arrived home to a heroes' welcome after spending a week searching for survivors of the Indian earthquake.

The 69-strong squad of aid workers and firefighters travelled to the quake zone in the western state Gujarat within 24 hours of the tremor striking last Friday.

The British contingent, which rescued five women, a man and a seven-year-old boy from the rubble of collapsed buildings, were greeted with hugs and kisses from their families at Manchester airport.

Thirty-nine firefighters form Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire arrived at Manchester last night after a 12-hour flight.

The team also included 12 Scottish and five English members of the International Rescue Core as well as 11 members of Rapid UK and two representatives of the Department for International Development's emergency response team, who co-ordinated the mission.

Meanwhile, it emerged Britons have pledged more then £3 million through a charity hotline for victims.

Co-ordinators said the appeal aimed to raise £10 million and many donations made at banks and post offices had yet to be counted.

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