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He Thought the Girl Was Dead. Then, 'She Opened Her Eyes'

After quake, 3-year-old Elif Perincek is pulled alive from rubble in Turkey, as is 14-year-old Idil Sirin
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2020 7:23 AM CST

(Newser) – Some good news amid tragedy as two girls in Turkey were rescued from the rubble left by Friday's earthquake in the Aegean Sea, nearly three days after the powerful temblor shook that country and Greece. Per CNN, a 3-year-old girl identified as Elif Perincek was pulled alive Monday out of the debris of her collapsed apartment in Izmir, Turkey's third largest city, after 65 hours of being buried. Elif, said to be the 106th person rescued after the disaster, was taken to a hospital near where she was found in the Bayrakli district, the Anadolu news agency reports, via Al Jazeera. "There was dust on her face, her face was white," Muammer Celik, a member of Istanbul's search and rescue team, told the Turkish channel NTV, via US News and World Report, adding that he initially thought the girl was dead. "When I cleaned the dust from her face, she opened her eyes. I was astonished."

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Celik, who calls Elif's rescue "a miracle," said Elif clung to his hand during the entire rescue. "I am now her big brother," he added. Elif's mother, 10-year-old twin siblings Ezel and Elzem, and 7-year-old brother Umut had been retrieved from the rubble less than 24 hours after the quake hit. Unfortunately, Umut didn't survive. Just hours before Elif's rescue, 14-year-old Idil Sirin was rescued from the rubble of her own apartment. She was found after being buried for 58 hours with her 8-year-old sister, Ipek, who sadly died in the collapse. The two girls were found just one day after 70-year-old Ahmet Citim was rescued, telling rescuers, "I never lost hope." Dozens died in the quake—US News & World Report puts the death toll at 85 so far—with nearly 1,000 injured. The US Geological Survey has recorded the magnitude of the quake at 7.0, though Turkish agencies measured it as slightly less. (Read more Turkey stories.)

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