Wednesday, 28 Feb 2024

Couple saved more than 12 days after Turkey earthquake

Istanbul: A couple and their son were pulled alive from under a collapsed apartment building more than 12 days after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake ravaged parts of Turkey and Syria, although the child later died at a hospital, Turkish state media reported.

A foreign search team from Kyrgyzstan rescued Samir Muhammed Accar, 49, and wife Ragda, 40, and their 12-year-old son while digging through the rubble of the apartment building in the southern Turkish city of Antakya, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Rescue workers pull out Samir Muhammed Accar from a collapsed building in Antakya, Turkey.Credit:AP

They were removed at about 11.30am local time, or 296 hours after the February 6 quake, and quickly transferred to ambulances. TV footage showing medics fixing an IV drip to the man’s arm as he lay on a stretcher.

One of the Kyrgyz rescuers said the team also found the bodies of two dead children. Anadolu later reported they also were the children of Samir Muhammad and Ragda Accar.

During a visit to Antakya, the capital of Hatay province, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the father was conscious and being treated at Mustafa Kemal University Hospital.

Anadolu published photos showing American TV personality and former US Senate candidate Mehmet Oz visiting the recovering man.

Samir Muhammed Accar after he was pulled out from a collapsed building.Credit:AP

Reporting on their conversation, Anadolu said Samir Muhammed Accar described how he survived the ordeal by drinking his own urine.

He also told Dr Oz that his children responded to his voice for the first two or three days but he heard nothing from after that.

Hatay province, where Antakya is located, was one of areas hit hardest by the earthquake, which killed at least 40,642 people in Turkey and 3688 in Syria.

Search and rescue operations are continuing in Turkey, although the head of the country’s disaster response agency said they would end on Sunday.


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