A Turkish woman was rescued Friday after spending more than 100 hours trapped in the rubble of her earthquake-hit home underneath her husband’s dead body, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a German non-profit organization.
It took a team of rescue workers over 50 hours to painstakingly make their way through the debris to reach the 40-year-old woman in the town of Kırıkhan in southern Turkey’s Hatay province.
“It was a very complicated rescue,” said Stefan Heine, a spokesman for the ISAR Germany search and rescue organization, describing how rescuers had to forge a path “centimeter by centimeter through concrete and rubble”.
More than 21,000 people have died in the massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday. Hopes of finding more survivors are fading fast, as experts say the chances of saving lives drop sharply after 72 hours.
The woman, named only as Zeynep, was currently in a stable condition and receiving medical attention, Heine said, after she was finally carried out on a stretcher.
During the lengthy rescue operation, emergency workers were able to keep in contact with Zeynep through a small shaft, which also allowed them to provide her with water.
Zeynep was lying prone throughout the ordeal, beneath the body of her late husband, Heine said. The bodies of other family members also lay nearby.
Rescuers worked tirelessly to free Zeynep, removing bucket after bucket of debris and carefully cutting through concrete blocks to create a narrow path to her.
“Everyone here at the scene is very happy about the rescue and deeply impressed by the woman’s strength,” said Steven Bayer, who headed the rescue mission.
The ISAR Germany team documented the rescue on Twitter.
➡️🇹🇷 KORKMA – HAB KEINE ANGST – Unser Team arbeitet jetzt schon seit über 50 Stunden daran, eine verschüttete Frau im türkischen #kırıkhan aus einem eingestürzten Haus zu befreien. Über einen kleinen Schacht wird der Kontakt zu der Frau gehalten. WIR GEBEN NICHT AUF!
— I.S.A.R. Germany (@ISAR_GERMANY) February 10, 2023
In one video, a rescue worker in a red-and-yellow jacket can be seen talking to Zeynep through a small gap in the ruins.
“Korkma,” he tells her, Turkish for “don’t be afraid.”
© Agence France-Presse