Istanbul Dusty but unhealthy, three-year-old Ayda Gezgin was pulled from the wreckage of an eight-story building on Tuesday, four days after the 7-magnitude earthquake struck the city Izmir, Turkey, her hometown. It’s the second dramatic rescue by a toddler in days, but while the joy of finding her alive holds hope for families in desperation, it’s tinged with tragedy. .
Rescuers at the scene said Gezgin survived because she lay next to a washing machine that shielded her from debris when her apartment building collapsed. They said she smiled when she was found.
The video showed the girl begging her mother when she was taken to an ambulance, but her mother was one of 105 people who died from the quake. Fidan Gezgin died in the rubble of the same building her daughter escaped on Tuesday.
The official death toll is likely to increase as there are still a handful of people believed to be missing under demolished buildings in the severely affected city.
Turkey’s Deputy Health Minister said Gezgin is in a stable state and her survival signs are normal.
More than 1,000 people were injured from the Izmir earthquake and rescuers are still racing on Tuesday to find any other survivors under the wreckage of at least five apartment buildings in the city, Turkey’s 3rd largest capital.
Family members gather around the dilapidated buildings, hoping for any sign of loved ones.
More than 100 people were dragged alive from 17 buildings across the city, where rescue operations began shortly after the quake.
Otherunder the rubble of various apartment buildings on Monday. She is reunited with her mother and two twin sisters, who are also freed from debris. Her brother is dead.
Some pets also managed to survive the collapse. Firefighters picked up four kittens on Tuesday from the same building where Gezgin was found, the mayor of Izmir tweeted.
But in spite of stories of survival, the earthquake devastated many families. The body of Yesim Emir, a 29-year-old dental aide, was recovered from the same destroyed building on Monday.
Trying to hold back her tears, her mother Sibel Suruc told CBS News on Saturday that the family is clinging to hope, “pray she will survive.”
Nearly 8,000 search and rescue staff and volunteers and 25 rescue dogs were deployed to the area to assist with the earthquake’s aftermath.
More than 5,000 people trapped live in tents, as at least 58 buildings have collapsed or been severely damaged.
Many residents are simply too scared to return to their homes amid strong aftershocks. More than 1,000 aftershocks were recorded on Monday following the original temblor on Friday.