Rescuers have pulled a three-year-old girl from the rubble of an earthquake in Turkey nearly three days after the event.
The child, who was later identified as Elif Perincek, was found in the wreckage of her apartment after an earthquake hit the country, killing at least 94 people and wounding more than 800, according to reports.
The girl was rescued on Monday morning, more than 65 hours after the devastating quake struck on Friday afternoon on Turkey’s Aegean coast.
The seismic event registered a magnitude that Turkish authorities put at 6.6 on the Richter scale – though other seismology institutes said it measured 6.9.
Not only did the quake destroy a number of buildings in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, it also triggered a small tsunami in the Seferihisar district as hundreds of aftershocks followed.
Muammer Celik, the firefighter who pulled the girl from the rubble of her home, told CNN that she held tight to his hand until he brought her to safety.
“That’s where we saw a miracle,” said Celik, from Istanbul’s fire department search and rescue team. “This is a firefighter’s joy.”
He said that upon discovering the little girl, they had at first believed she was dead, with the firefighter asking his colleague for a body bag.
“There was dust on her face, her face was white,” he said. “When I cleaned the dust from her face, she opened her eyes. I was astonished. It was a miracle, it was a true miracle. I am now her big brother.”
Young Elif’s mother and 10-year-old twin sisters had been rescued two days earlier, but sadly, her six-year-old brother did not survive.
“A thousand thanks to you, my God. We have brought out our little one Elif from the apartment block,” Mehmet Gulluoglu, head of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), wrote on Twitter.
More than 5,500 rescuers from different agencies and cities worked joined forces in the desperate search for survivors, using sensitive headphones and crawling through the cracks to find any sign of life.
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