Bayrakli, Turkey, Nov 2 (AFP/APP):Rescuers pulled two children from the rubble in a town in Turkey on Monday, delivering hope nearly three days after a major earthquake hit the Aegean, killing 93 people and ruining dozens of buildings.
Three-year-old Elif Perincek was rescued 65 hours after the 7.0-magnitude quake left a trail of destruction in western Turkey and eastern Greece on Friday, Turkey’s AFAD emergency authority said.
Local media showed a video of a little girl wrapped up in a foil blanket quickly taken to safety in the coastal town of Bayrakli — the hardest hit by the disaster — as rescue workers broke into applause.
Hours later, Turkish state television showed images of the girl, her right eye closed by a purple bruise, waving to the camera from her hospital bed, a doll resting on her chest.
Muammer Celik, a fireman who found and saved Elif, told AFP he thought the toddler was dead when he saw her lying on her back, covered by white dust.
“I asked for a body bag. I wanted to wipe the dust from her face and put out my hand towards her — and then suddenly she grabbed my thumb,” he recalled.
“We froze. We were crying with joy,” Celik said. “We forgot everything in that moment!”
A photo of Elif holding Celik’s hand went viral in Turkey. The fireman said she did not let go until she was taken to a tent for safety nearby.
Elif was the 106th person pulled out alive from collapsed buildings in Bayrakli and surrounding towns and cities in western Turkey.
Her mother and three siblings were pulled out on Saturday night, although her rescued brother later died, the TRT state broadcaster said.
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