Rescuers in Turkey are rejoicing after a four-year-old girl was pulled from the rubble in Izmir some 91 hours after a devastating 7.0 magnitude quake struck the Aegean Sea last Friday.
Nusret Aksoy, head of the Kadikoy Search and Rescue team, said he heard screams and ordered his colleagues to freeze. The team shut off generators and machinery so they could hone in on the girl’s cries for help.
After a prolonged silence, once the din had settled, Aksoy called out, asking the trapped toddler her name and maintaining conversation as the rescuers scrambled to the area where she was, with only her tiny hand poking out above the dust and rubble to guide them. The girl, later identified by authorities as Ayda Gezgin, was eventually found in a tight space next to a dishwasher. She waved to the rescuers, calling out her name and saying she was fine, Aksoy told the reporters.
“Miracles always exist,” the fire service tweeted, adding that the girl’s rescue was the fruit of “all teams that never stop working hard and believing.”
Mucizeler hep var.
91.saatte enkazdan sağ salim çıkarılan Ayla, canla başla çalışmayı, inanmayı asla bırakmayan tüm ekiplerin yavrusudur. pic.twitter.com/zsRh05eJHj
— İstanbul İtfaiyesi (@ibbitfaiye) November 3, 2020
— A F A D (@AFADBaskanlik) November 3, 2020
Once freed from the rubble, the child was given hydrating fluids, draped in a thermal blanket and taken by stretcher to a waiting ambulance and on to the nearby Ege University Medical Faculty Hospital under police escort. Despite her harrowing ordeal, the girl was said to be in good health.
“In general, there is no problem, her general condition is good, she is conscious and can speak. There is no problem in her vital functions,” Deputy Minister of Health Muhammet Güven said.
Gezgin was the 107th person rescued, while a three-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl were pulled from the rubble on Monday. Unfortunately, the death toll from the quake rose to over 100 on Tuesday.
Some 994 people were also injured in the disaster, 147 of whom are still undergoing treatment in hospital. Search and rescue operations are continuing in the area, with some 8,000 personnel and 25 rescue dogs deployed to find survivors.
Thousands of residents have been forced to sleep in tents in the aftermath of the earthquake, the deadliest to hit Turkey in 2020, amid the ongoing threat posed by aftershocks.