World News

3-year-old girl rescued alive after 65 hours trapped under rubble in Turkey earthquake

Posted November 2, 2020 2:56 a.m. EST
Updated November 2, 2020 2:06 p.m. EST

— A 3-year-old girl has been rescued alive from a collapsed apartment building in Izmir, Turkey, following Friday's strong earthquake, according to Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

The child, identified by authorities as Elif Perincek, was rescued on Monday morning, more than 65 hours after the devastating quake struck.

Emergency workers who had worked tirelessly to rescue her applauded as Elif -- wrapped in a foil blanket and covered in dust -- was carried through the wreckage and into an ambulance.

Muammer Celik, the firefighter who pulled the girl from the rubble of her home, told CNN that she held tight to his hand until he brought her to safety.

"I thought she might be in the space between her bed and her dresser. I went in that direction and that's where I found her lying on her back. I picked her up. I cleaned her face got rid of the dust. She held my finger and wouldn't let go until we got to ambulance," Celik said.

"Elif is our miracle," he added.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Perincek's mother and two others were rescued earlier, but, unfortunately, one of her siblings had died.

Koca said later on Monday that the 3-year-old had been taken to hospital and was being treated in intensive care. He said she had not sustained any serious fractures or muscle crush injuries and was in good condition.

News of the rescue came just hours after another child was found alive under the rubble and safely brought to the surface by rescue teams. Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said that 14-year-old Idil Sirin was rescued after she had spent more than 58 hours trapped under a collapsed building.

In phone video showing the dramatic moment of Sirin's rescue, dozens of onlookers are heard cheering excitedly as she is freed from the wreckage. She was given first aid at the scene before being transported to a local hospital, according to Anadolu.

At least 91 people died and 994 were injured after the earthquake -- measured as magnitude-7.0 by the US Geological Survey -- struck in the Aegean Sea on Friday, shaking parts of Greece and Turkey.

The quake struck 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) northeast of the town of Néon Karlovásion on Samos, the USGS reported, at a relatively shallow depth of 21 kilometers (13 miles), making its impact powerfully felt at ground level around the epicenter.

Some 20 buildings were seriously damaged in Izmir by the tremor, according to Izmir Mayor Tunc Soyer, the majority of them in the middle-class Bayrakli district.

More than 900 aftershocks have been registered since the initial quake, 42 of them with a magnitude over 4.0, Turkey's disaster agency said. The earthquake also triggered what authorities called a "mini tsunami," causing streets to flood Friday in parts of Turkey's wider Izmir province, as well as on Samos.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.