Doctors said a seafood company worker from Dong Thap Province had reached stable condition after spending 103 hours in a freezer.
Mai Thanh Sang, 23, was found at around midnight on Wednesday and was rushed eventually sent to Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City where doctors gave him fluid transfusions and placed him on a respirator.
The doctors there said they hadn't treated a similar case of frostbite for many years.
Sang and three colleagues were cleaning and rearranging a 3,000 square meter cold storage unit at the Van Y Company on Saturday afternoon, on July 19, when the shelving units collapsed.
Two of the workers managed to escape the room. Tieu Van Tup, 46, the other worker, was found later that night.
Sang recalled his perdicament in broken words: “When the shelves fell, I ran to the gate, but the shelves fell inward, so I ran back.”
Nguyen Van Tai, head of the human resource department at Van Y who has been at his side since the rescue, said Sang heard rescuers calling his name but they did not hear his replies through the piles of debris.
Wooden boxes of fish fillet bags pinned his left leg and arm to the floor.
“During the second night, he was so thirsty he tore open a bag of fish to drink the water inside but it tasted so disgusting, he vomited. He slipped in and out of consciousness many times,” Tai told Tuoi Tre newspaper.
Rescuers finally found Sang after clearing around 30 percent of the debris and hearing his faint cries for help.
He was found wearing four layers of coats and a protective hat. His feet were black and blue and he couldn't move most of his toes.
Doctors in Dong Thap, who provided Sang first aids before transferring him to the city, said his blood pressure had dropped to dangerous lows, but he had passed through his critical moment, despite the lingering risk of necrosis in his feet.
Colonel Dang Minh The, the chief of police in Thanh Binh District, called Sang a rare survior.
Hundreds of people were deployed to search for him, including company workers, local police officers and soldiers.
Police dogs were sent but around 3,000 tons of frozen fish stymied their efforts.
After two days without clues, people started to lose hope of finding Sang alive, The said.
Forces in Dong Thap Province in search for Mai Thanh Sang, a seafood company worker, amid collapsing shelves. The man was found nearly midnight on July 23, surprising everyone as being still alive. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
“We thought Sang was dead after spending nearly five days buried like that. But everyone was surprised to find him alive and moving,” The said.
“He was suffering from cold burns, but his condition was rather stable and he was able to speak,” the officer said.
Police are saving their questioning until he recovers.
The storage temperature was set to minus 22 degrees Celsius when the accident happened and the company reportedly cut the power room immediately afterward.
Despite the power cut, the storage remained during Sang's perdicament, possibly between minus-16 to minus-20 degrees.
When they found Sang, the storage temperature had risen to around 5 degrees.
Major Nguyen Van Vang, a firefighter who joined the search, said rescue workers cycled out of the storage every two hours as they couldn't bear the cold.
“That Sang survived after all that time is a miracle,” Vang told Tuoi Tre.
His mother Nguyen Thi Tu said she had only hoped to find his body.
"Sang still has his wife and his child just a little over a month old," she said. "I couldn't believe he might leave us. God helped us."