Three-year-old girl pulled alive from rubble days after deadly Aegean earthquake


When firefighter Muammer Celik reached a 3-year-old girl trapped for three days under the rubble of a deadly earthquake in a Turkish coastal city, his heart sank. She was lying motionless, covered in dust, and he asked a colleague for a body bag.

But as Celik extended his arm to wipe her face, the child opened her eyes and grabbed hold of his thumb.

“That’s where we saw a miracle,” Celik of the Istanbul fire department’s search-and-rescue team told The Associated Press, recounting Monday’s operation 65 hours after the quake hit, killing at least 94 people in Turkey and Greece.

It was the second dramatic rescue on Monday after a 14-year-old was also pulled out alive. Onlookers applauded with joy and wept with relief at both scenes in the Turkish city of Izmir, where the vast majority of the deaths and nearly 1,000 injuries have occurred.

In this photo provided by the Turkish government’s Search and Rescue agency, AFAD, rescue workers carry to an ambulance 14-year-old Idil Sirin who had been extricated from a collapsed building early on Monday, November 2, 2020. Photo: AFAD via AP.

Two teenagers also died and 19 people were injured on the Greek island of Samos, near the quake’s epicenter in the Aegean Sea.

READ MORE: Funeral held in Samos for the two teenagers killed by deadly earthquake.

The US Geological Survey rated the quake 7.0, though other agencies recorded it as less severe. Many buildings were completely reduced to rubble or saw several floors pancake in on themselves in Turkey and Greece.

Celik, whose team was among several who traveled to Izmir, said he found Elif Perincek lying on her back between her bed and a closet in a space that was just big enough for her.

“At first I was very upset,” he said. “Then I stretched out my hand to clean her face and she grabbed my thumb… I froze because right before that moment, I had asked my team for a blanket and a body bag.”

3-year-old girl, Elif Perincek, rests in her hospital bed after she was rescued from the rubble of a building. Photo: Turkish Health Ministry via AP.

His voice breaking with emotion, he added: “This is a firefighter’s joy.”

READ MORE: Mitsotakis visits earthquake-striken Samos, calls for damage evaluation.

The child spent nearly three full days in the wreckage of her apartment and became the 106th person to be pulled alive from the rubble. Her mother and two sisters — 10-year-old twins — were rescued two days earlier. Her 6-year-old brother did not survive.

Health Minister, Fahrettin Koca, tweeted that both Elif and 14-year-old Idil Sirin were doing well.

Elsewhere in Izmir, rescue workers scrambled to find more survivors used listening devices to detect any signs of life.

“Can anyone hear me?” a team leader shouted, asking possible survivors to bang against surfaces three times if they could.

Members of rescue services search for survivors in the debris of a collapsed building in Izmir, Turkey. Photo: AP Photo/Darko Bandic.

READ MORE: Greek PM Mitsotakis, Turkish President Erdogan exchange condolences over earthquake deaths.

Officials said 147 quake survivors were still hospitalised, and three of them were in serious condition.

The quake also triggered a small tsunami that hit Samos and the Seferihisar district of Izmir province, where one elderly woman drowned. The tremors were felt across western Turkey, as well as in the Greek capital of Athens. Hundreds of aftershocks followed.

Turkey sits on top of fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. In 1999, two powerful quakes killed some 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey. Earthquakes are frequent in Greece as well.

Source: AP News.




By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


Latest News

Cypriot woman, Pontian boy and Senator gather at Greek Genocide Memorial in Victoria

People gathered at Ray Brahman Gardens, Preston, Victoria to commemorate the Armenian and Greek Genocide on Saturday, May 18

Vadoulis Garden Centre in South Australia closes after 64 years

The owner of Vadoulis Garden Centre in South Australia has announced its closure after 64 years of operation. Read more here.

Business leader Paul Nicolaou calls for reinstatement of dining vouchers in NSW

Paul Nicolaou has called for the NSW government to reinstate dining vouchers to support struggling cafes and restaurants.

Family of the late Iraklis Roussos get landmark legal victory in the NT

A landmark legal victory in the NT for the family of the late Iraklis Roussos will pave the way for hundreds of Australians to seek justice.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ new film gets extended standing ovation in Cannes

Yorgos Lanthimos’ avant-garde film 'Kinds of Kindness,' starring actress Emma Stone, captivated audiences at the Cannes Film Festival.

You May Also Like

Chef Anna Polyviou shares her favourite artefacts from the ‘Open Horizons’ exhibition

Award-winning chef Anna Polyviou shares her favourite artefacts from the 'Open Horizons' exhibition at the Melbourne Museum.

Hellenic Art Theatre returns with famous Greek comedy ‘Ploutos’

The Hellenic Art Theatre reopened to huge applause on September 5 due to their incredible performance of Greek comedy, Ploutos (Wealth).

Greece to receive extra EU funding for two migration programs

Greece will receive an additional 42.2 million euros in funding from the European Union for two migration programs.