3-Year-Old Pulled Alive 91 Hours After Deadly Turkey Earthquake


Exhausted rescue workers had reason to cheer for a moment as a 3-year-old girl was freed from the wreckage of a collapsed apartment building in Turkey on Tuesday, 91 hours after a deadly earthquake rocked the country’s western coast.

The child was extracted safely, disaster management agency AFAD tweeted, from a building in the city of Izmir. Rescue workers cleared the debris around the toddler trapped in a tiny gap yet looking calm, an AFAD footage on Twitter showed.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca identified the girl as Ayda Gezgin, sharing footage of her talking to a health officer on an ambulance. State media initially identified her as Ayla. She tells her name and says she does not feel pain. “A new miracle,” state broadcaster TRT described her rescue, which comes almost 30 hours after the rescue of another girl of the same age from the wreckage in Izmir city. “I heard a child’s voice,” rescuer Ahmet Celik told reporters.

“I put my head through the hole,” Celik said, his voice quivering. He recalled her saying she was very thirsty and requested water and ayran, a yoghurt beverage. An earthquake centred in the Aegean Sea hit both Turkey and Greece on Friday. “We are very happy. I can not describe the moment she stared at us,” another rescuer told TRT, describing how he gave her blood serum and covered her in a blanket.

An image from the first moments of the rescue on TRT showed one rescuer kiss her and her holding the rescuer’s thumb. The girl is in good condition in hospital, state news agency Anadolu quoted Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum as saying in Izmir. The death toll in Izmir reached 102, while as many as 8,000 rescuers continued their efforts at four collapsed buildings, Kurum added.

TRT said rescue efforts were underway for the mother who is also believed to be trapped, while the father was safe outside when the quake hit.

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