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Boy, nine, pulled out alive after five days underground in arms of his mother

We watched as a pair rescuers climbed in a scoop to examine a large pile of concrete in the deserted area that encircles Kahramanmaras, Turkey.

As they searched for a fallen building, their mobile bucket carried them high into the air. This spot had never been seen before.

This is not surprising.

More than 200 buildings were destroyed in Kahramanmaras by the earthquakes, and tremors.


“Is there anyone in there?” A rescuer said, “If you can hear me tap the wall,”

“No, no one.”

The dilemma facing local officials is difficult. Tens of thousands were evacuated by the disaster, many of them now living in tents or making their own homes along the roadside.

Turkey’s security is ‘rapidly declining’ as the death tolls rise past 30,000 – latest

The weather is extremely harsh at night and authorities must clear the debris and start the process of rebuilding.

However, there is also a conflicting need – a moral obligation – to search for survivors. This is a skillful and time-consuming task.

We met the multi-national rescue team at the Elbrar apartment block trying to free Leyla, a woman from deep under the pile.

They had been working late to get her out.

Image Leyla was found by a multi-national rescue group.

Gianluca Pesce (an engineer from Italy) was our rescuer.

“We have opened one corridor within, which is approximately 50cm in size, and it is just large enough to hold one person. I entered the tunnel and walked for seven metres. We call her and she answers, but her voice is weak.”

Israeli national search and rescue units members led the rescue effort. They spent over 24 hours trying to reach Leyla from both the sides and top of the building. Although they had managed to rescue the woman’s husband, and her daughter, Leyla was still in an extremely difficult situation.

Mr. Pesce stated, “It’s going take a long time.”

Sometimes, rescues can be completed in just a few minutes.

We were filming at Elbrar Building when word got out about an emergency. A survivor was found under the remains of an 11th-storey block, just 100m from our location.

Image In Kahramanmaras, more than 200 buildings were destroyed

Selmir Gizet, an excavator driver, told us that he was clearing the pile when he heard something strange in the rubble. Selmir Gizet decided to raise the alarm.

Soon after, Gohkan, a man named Gohkan, was taken out of a hole and put on a stretcher.

Image Gohkan was pulled from a hole by rescuers

His feet were frostbitten and blistered, and his face was lacerated. We also saw a large indentation at his forehead.

He was still alive and survived for more than four days underground.

The crowd chanted, “God Is Great!”

Weeping down his cheeks, one rescuer said to us: “I dreamt that I would find someone.” He was saved by us all as a group. God Save Him, I pray he survives.”

The Elbrar block search and rescue team was still looking for Leyla, but they informed us that there had been a significant development.

Continue reading:

Horror, short happiness, then heartache while searching for three sisters in rubble

Some aid organizations stop quake rescue work for Turkey because of reports of clashes

UN chief of aid makes a ‘terrifying’ prediction about earthquake death toll

Image Search for survivors in the rubble continues

Leyla may have heard her son’s voice – they were both in the room with the boy when the earthquake hit.

Jonathan Rousso, a search and rescue paramedic said, “We were searching for a woman. We know there is a woman inside. When we got closer, it became obvious that we were speaking to the child.”

“The team has reached the point where they are on either side of the wall. But they can’t cut the wall. There is also a washing machine in the way. The washing machine is too strong to cut. We have to dig deeper.

It was dangerous and their tunnels were at high risk of collapsing due to frequent earthquakes. Team members ran into the wreckage of a local shop to find timber and screws to support their underground channels.

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Rescue team members were able to reach the boy over the course of a long, agonizing evening.

He revealed to them that his name was Ridvan.

Although a doctor attempted to stabilize him below, there were serious concerns regarding his condition. He was finally released.

Image Ridvan was Leyla’s nine-year old son. He was saved and taken to an ambulance

The volunteers asked for calm, fearing that Ridvan would be alarmed. Ridvan was then taken on a stretcher through the concrete hole. The crowd grew to several hundred and Ridvan was welcomed by the sounds of whispers.

He was nearly five days underground and was now in the arms his mother. He was severely dehydrated, cold, and had one of his legs crushed. Paramedics took him to the hospital.

Image Ridvan, pictured in hospital

Unfortunately, Leyla, his mother, did not survive and the rescue team was unable to save her.

A family tragedy and a national catastrophe in a city of sorrow.


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