Turkey: 3-year-old girl rescued 65 hours after quake

Her mother, 3 siblings were also pulled from debris 23 hours after Friday’s earthquake that hit Turkey’s Aegean region

Ali Korkmaz and Haydar Toprakci   | 02.11.2020
Turkey: 3-year-old girl rescued 65 hours after quake

IZMIR, Turkey

A three-year-old girl was rescued alive from rubble on Monday, days after a magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit Turkey's Aegean coast.

Elif Perincek was pulled from debris in the Bayrakli district of the Aegean Izmir province nearly 65 hours after the quake.

3-year-old survivor, Elif Perincek rescued 65 hours after the Izmir earthquake

IZMIR, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 02: A screen grab captured from a video shows Turkish rescue teams pull a 3-year-old survivor, Elif Perincek, out of the debris 65 hours after the quake as search and rescue works continue at collapsed Doganlar Apartment building aftermath of a magnitude 6.6 quake shook Turkey's Aegean Sea coast, in Izmir, Turkey on November 02, 2020. ( Stringer - Anadolu Agency )

Elif, the 106th person to be rescued from the rubble, was taken to hospital.

On Twitter, Mehmet Gulluoglu, the head of Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), expressed happiness at the little girl's rescue.

About 23 hours after the quake, Elif’s mother Seher Dereli Perincek and her 10-year-old sisters, Ezel and Elzem, as well as her seven-year-old brother Umut were pulled from the rubble. While Umut lost his life, her mother and sisters are currently being treated.

'She wouldn't let go'

Speaking to reporters following Elif's rescue, firefighter Muammer Celik said that "Elif held my finger" while he "cleaned dust from her face."

Celik said he took her out together with a co-worker, adding that Elif did not let go of his finger until they reached a first aid tent.

"That child deserves to live to the end," he said.

As firefighters, he said, they never lose hope "until the very last moment."

"We never lost hope for Elif either."

Tolga Unsel, a paramedic from the National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE), told Anadolu Agency that Elif was still when they first reached her in the rubble.

At first she appeared dead, Unsel said, but later she moved her eyes.

"It was truly a miracle for us."

Paramedics then put her on a trauma board and put a collar on her neck to take her to a field hospital.

"She was in good condition," he said.

"We also heard from the hospital that she was in intensive care as a precaution," he added.

The little girl is now recovering in the intensive care unit at Ege University Hospital.

The first images of Elif show her receiving oxygen with her eyes open. There were also toys on her bed.

"Get well soon, dear baby," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter, sharing a video of Elif at the hospital waving to the camera.

Turkey is among the world's most seismically active zones, and has suffered devastating earthquakes in the past, including the 1999 Marmara quake.

*Writing by Sena Guler and Gozde Bayar in Ankara

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