Turkish rescuers on Thursday pulled a 17-year-old girl and a woman in her 20s from the rubble of last week’s devastating earthquake, as hopes faded of finding more survivors.
Aleyna Olmez, 17, was rescued 248 hours after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake flattened entire cities, killing nearly 40,000 people across southeastern Turkey and parts of Syria.
“She looked to be in good health. She opened and closed her eyes,” coal miner Ali Akdogan, who took part in the rescue effort, told AFP in Kahramanmaras, a city near the quake’s epicentre.
“We have been working here in this building for a week now…” “We came here with the hope of hearing sounds,” he said. “We are happy whenever we find a living thing—even a cat.”
The girl’s uncle tearfully hugged the rescuers one by one, saying, “We will never forget you.”
NTV television later reported that Neslihan Kilic, in her 20s, was rescued 258 hours after the first tremor in the same city.
CNN Turk said more than 250 people had lost their lives in the complex of high-rises where Kilic was found alive.
Officials and medics said 36,187 people had died in Turkey and 3,688 in Syria from the February 6 earthquake and its aftershocks, bringing the confirmed total to 39,875.
Turkey has suspended rescue operations in some regions, and the government in war-torn Syria has done the same in areas under its control.