Agus Azhari, 19, was in his family home with his mother when the earthquake centered on West Java’s Cianjur, the worst-hit city, destroyed the living room within seconds.
Parts of the walls and ceiling fell to the floor, along with cupboards and other debris that lodged in his feet and hands.
“I couldn’t see anything. The dust from the debris blocked my eyesight for a while,” Azhari told AFP. He said that he had never experienced such an earthquake before.
The Indonesian teen shared a video in which his 56-year-old mother is seen screaming, “God have mercy! My house!” as their house shook.
“I grabbed my mom’s hand and we ran outside,” he said. “I heard people screaming for help all around me.”
The shallow earthquake, with a magnitude of 5.6, brought down roofs and walls of houses on the hilly landscape of the city. Many were made more vulnerable by the use of wood, clay and concrete in their construction.
Emergency crews rushed to treat victims at any outdoor location, the city’s three hospitals were overcrowded and there were not enough rooms to deal with the 700 injured.
Officials said at least 25 people were still trapped under the debris.
Residents took the bodies on pickup trucks and motorbikes to Siangjur’s Sayang Hospital. Due to power failure, the doctors could not perform the operation immediately.
Some of the wounded were sitting on stretchers or blankets with their heads and limbs bandaged. Elderly women sat in wheelchairs waiting for their treatment as a crowd of anxious onlookers looked on.
At another hospital, Seemakan, victims arrived covered in blood while parents searched for missing children.
Several injured elderly women were taken on stretchers to a makeshift green tent set up outside the hospital.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, people rushed to rescue victims, while others fled their homes for safety.
Dozens of aftershocks rocked the city for minutes, which seemed like hours to distraught locals.
The governor of the province said some of the injured needed to have their heads and legs stitched together because of wounds from falling debris around them.
Landslides buried the bodies around the city, and bulldozers were used to reopen the roads.
A woman and a child were pulled alive from the debris, while others died nearby.
Oman, a 55-year-old man known by the same name as most Indonesians, was making fried rice in a village near Cianjur when his house started shaking.
“All of a sudden I got buried under it. I could not do anything in the debris. My wife was out at that time,” he said.
His legs, feet and arms were buried in the ruins, but his son came to pull him out, emerging only with a broken leg and a bloodied body.
Oman said, “I didn’t know where to go but at least I’m alive.”
The search for survivors was set to go on well into the night as the homes and relatives of the survivors were left by the carnage.
Azhari said, “My mother saw her house and she cried.”