3-Year-Old Girl Rescued After Spending 65 Hours Trapped Under Rubble from Earthquake in Turkey

"That child deserves to live to the end... We never lost hope for Elif," one of her rescuers said

Elif Perincek
Elif Perincek is rescued from the rubble in Turkey. Photo: Istanbul Fire Authority/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Nearly three days after a massive earthquake rocked Turkey, a 3-year-old girl was pulled from the rubble alive in a rescue mission her saviors called a true miracle.

The girl, named Elif, was extricated from the rubble on Monday, 65 hours after the 6.6-magnitude quake shook the country’s Aegean coast, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said on Twitter.

“It was truly a miracle for us,” paramedic Tolga Unsel, who aided in the rescue, told Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

Elif’s mother, Seher Dereli Perincek, was reportedly pulled from the rubble on Saturday, along with three of the girl’s siblings. Twins Ezel and Elzem, 10, survived alongside Seher, though the family’s 7-year-old son Umut died of his injuries, according to Anadolu.

Unsel said that he initially thought Elif had died, but she moved her eyes as she was brought to safety, alerting her rescuers that she was, in fact, alive.

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Firefighter Muammer Celik, who also helped, said Elif held onto his finger throughout the rescue, and didn’t let go until they’d reached the first aid tent.

“That child deserves to live to the end,” Celik told Anadolu. “We never lost hope for Elif.”

The young girl was reportedly the 106th person to be rescued from the rubble left behind by the quake, and hours earlier, a 14-year-old child named Idil was also saved, according to AFAD.

The earthquake, which occurred on Friday around 3 p.m. local time, reportedly lasted more than 15 seconds, killing 85 people and injuring nearly 1,000 more.

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