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Omayra was a 13-year-old Colombian girl killed in by the 1985 eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano. Volcanic debris mixed with ice to form massive lahars, which rushed into the river valleys below the mountain, killing nearly 23,000 people and destroying Armero and 13 other villages.
After a lahar demolished her home, Sánchez was pinned beneath the debris of her house, where she remained trapped in water for three days. Her plight was documented as she descended from calmness into agony. Her courage and dignity touched journalists and relief workers, who put great efforts into comforting her. After 60 hours of struggling, she died, likely as a result of either gangrene or hypothermia. Her death highlighted the failure of officials to respond correctly to the threat of the volcano, contrasted with the efforts of volunteer rescue workers to reach and treat trapped victims, despite inadequate supplies and equipment.