A three-year-old girl was pulled from the rubble 91 hours after a powerful earthquake hit western Turkey, killing more than 100 people, officials and AFP reporters at the scene said. “We have witnessed a miracle in the 91st hour,” Izmir mayor Tunc Soyer tweeted. “Rescue teams pulled Ayda out alive. Along with the great pain we have experienced, we have this joy as well.”
The mayor initially said she was four years old, but Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca later clarified she was three.
Ayda was rescued from a collapsed building in the Turkish town of Bayrakli, the worst affected by the 7.0 magnitude quake which struck Turkey and Greece on Friday afternoon.
As she was taken to safety and wrapped in a foil blanket, she called for her mother, an AFP correspondent said, as the anxious crowd broke into rapturous applause, with some hugging each other and others crying.
There were also joyous shouts of “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is Greater”. The TRT state broadcaster gave her name as Ayda Gezgin.
The news channel NTV said she immediately asked for water and ayran, a salty drink made from yoghurt. Rescuers said they became aware there was still someone alive at the site on Monday night, before painstakingly working to reach her.
She told them before she was saved: “I’m here,” Milliyet daily reported, which said her mother still remained trapped underneath the rubble.
The rescue came a day after a four-year-old and a 14-year-old were found alive in the rubble of collapsed buildings in Bayrakli, providing hope that more people could still be rescued.
The death toll from the quake rose to 102 in Turkey on Tuesday, AFAD reported, with 1,026 people injured of which 143 remain in hospital.
Two teenagers on their way home from school were also killed in Greece. Turkey has reported over 1,475 aftershocks following the quake, including 44 that were above four in magnitude.
With dozens of buildings damaged and the risk of repeated tremors, thousands of residents were forced to spend a fourth night in tents in Izmir.
The quake is the deadliest in Turkey this year after over 40 people were killed in the eastern provinces of Elazig and Malatya in January.