Rescuers shouted “God is great” and hugged each other on Friday after freeing a woman who was trapped for five days in the rubble of a collapsed apartment building in earthquake-ravaged Turkey.
CBC journalists were on the scene in the southeastern city of Adiyaman as the woman was pulled from the debris, fitted with an oxygen mask, placed on a stretcher and carried to an ambulance.
The woman was trapped under a door in the building in an air pocket, which allowed rescuers to talk to her and provide food and water.
“This happened Monday. She’s been in that building for days, freezing cold … and now she has been freed, the latest survivor of this earthquake. Really just a miraculous thing to see,” said CBC’s Briar Stewart.
The Burnaby Urban Search and Rescue Team, volunteers who flew into Turkey on Tuesday after getting the green light from the Turkish consulate in Vancouver, was also on the scene. The team has brought with them high-tech cameras to help find survivors.
Rescuers pulled several people alive from other shattered remnants of buildings on Friday, some who survived more than 100 hours trapped under crushed concrete in the bitter cold after a catastrophic earthquake hit Turkey and Syria early Monday, killing more than 22,000.
Rescues bring fleeting moments of joy
In the Turkish city of Gaziantep, teenager Adnan Mohammet Korkut was pulled from beneath the rubble of a collapsed building early Friday.
In Adiyaman on Thursday, rescue crews pulled four-year-old Yagiz Komsu from the debris of his home. They later managed to rescue his mother, Ayfer Komsu, who survived with a fractured rib, according the HaberTurk television, which broadcast the rescue live.
Elsewhere, HaberTurk television said rescuers had identified nine people trapped inside the remains of a high-rise apartment block in Iskenderun and pulled out six of them on Friday, including a woman who waved at onlookers as she was being carried away on a stretcher.
The building was only 200 metres from the Mediterranean Sea and narrowly avoided being flooded when the massive earthquake sent water surging into the city centre.
There were still more stories: A married couple was pulled from the rubble in Iskenderun after spending 109 hours buried in a small crevice. A German team said it worked for more than 50 hours to free a woman from the rubble of a house in Kirikhan.
In the hard-hit city of Kahramanmaras, two teenage sisters were saved, and video of the operation showed one emergency worker playing a pop song on his smartphone to distract them.
Even though experts say trapped people can live for a week or more, the chances of finding survivors are dimming.
The rescues Friday provided fleeting moments of joy and relief amid the misery and hardship gripping the shattered region, where morgues and cemeteries are overwhelmed and bodies lie wrapped in blankets, rugs and tarps in the streets of some cities.
Some 12,000 buildings in Turkey have either collapsed or sustained serious damage, according to Turkey’s Minister of Environment and Urban Planning, Murat Kurum.
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