A 26-year-old woman was rescued on Tuesday after spending 201 hours under the rubble in the southern Turkish province of Hatay, one of the areas hardest hit by a powerful earthquake on Feb. 6, the Kronos news website reported.
The woman, a teacher named Mine Akgül, was rescued after the operator of excavation equipment working there to remove the rubble of the flattened building noticed that she was alive.
Turkey’s most powerful earthquake in almost 100 years struck near the city of Gaziantep as people slept, killing more than 31,000 people and injuring over 80,000 across 10 southeastern provinces hit hardest by the disaster.
The 7.8-magnitude quake was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that struck the region in the middle of search and rescue efforts the same day.
The woman, who was unconscious at a time when the hope of finding any survivors was nearly lost, was immediately taken to a hospital.
Experts say the window for saving people trapped under rubble is usually 72 hours.
The powerful earthquake reduced huge swaths of the border region between Turkey and Syria to rubble. Freezing temperatures and the amount of time a human can survive without water are among the factors reducing the likelihood of rescues as time goes on. Tens of thousands of bodies have been recovered in the search operations.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) announced on Tuesday that the death toll of the earthquake has risen to 31,974 in Turkey.
The death toll, which is more than 3,500 in Syria, is feared to rise further.