Mexico Sends Talented Search and Rescue Dogs to Turkey to Help with Earthquake Aftermath

The group of skilled canines garnered international attention after they were deployed in search and rescue efforts following Mexico's Puebla earthquake in 2017

Mexico is sending the country's skilled search and rescue dog team — who helped save people following Mexico's Puebla earthquake in 2017 — to Turkey to help locate survivors days after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the country and Syria, leaving thousands dead.

At least 16 Mexican search and rescue dogs, and their handlers, boarded a plane to Turkey on Tuesday, Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's Foreign Affairs Secretary, announced in a Facebook post. Human search and rescue experts from the Mexican army, foreign ministry officials, and members of the Red Cross also joined the flight, per CNN.

"The Mexican canine pairs are ready to support the rescue efforts in Turkey, Ebrard wrote on Facebook. "Pride of our 🇲🇽! With them is the goodwill and spirit of solidarity of the Mexican people."

Some of the canines heading off to the mission include Orly and Balam, two border collies who work with the Mexican Red Cross. Ebrard shared a photo of the hero pup pair on his social media. There's also a veteran rescue dog named Ecko, a Belgian Malinois who helped with recovery efforts after the 2017 Puebla earthquake, per BBC.

The canines and their handlers touched down in Adana, Turkey, on Wednesday, with Ebrard saying, "With the spirit of Frida 🐶, our rescuers arrive in Türkiye, to collaborate in the rescue and humanitarian assistance work for all those affected by the earthquakes. Solidarity Mexico!"

Mexico Search and Rescue Dogs to Turkey
Marcelo Ebrard C./Twitter

Ebrard mention of Frida is a reference to the late search and rescue Labrador Retriever Frida, who was a part of the special canine response team following Mexico's deadly 2017 earthquake. She gained fame after successfully locating and bringing a dozen people to safety in Mexico City while wearing protective goggles and boots.

Frida helped Mexico's search dogs gain international recognition, capturing hearts as she went. Her heroic rescues earned the Lab celebrity status on social media, garnering attention from PEOPLE's 2022 Sexiest Man Alive Chris Evans, who retweeted a viral video of the rescue pup in action with the caption: "What did we do to deserve dogs?"

The Lab rescued 12 people and successfully located 43 bodies during her career. Frida retired in 2019 and died in November 2022 at 13.

Frida Rescue dog
SEMAR Mexico/Twitter

Several other countries have already dispatched canine teams to aid the rescue efforts in Turkey and Syria, according to the BBC, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Greece, Poland, and Germany.

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On Monday morning, a powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey's central southern Gaziantep province at a depth of 11 miles — making it one of the strongest to hit the region in more than 100 years, according to a CNN report. It was followed by a magnitude 6.7 aftershock and another 7.5-magnitude quake about 100 miles north of Gaziantep nine hours later.

As of Wednesday, the death toll in Turkey and Syria had topped 11,000, according to CBS News.

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