Couple survive 12 days under rubble after earthquake in Turkey

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Turkish state media reported that a husband, wife and son were rescued alive from a collapsed apartment building more than 12 days after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastated parts of Turkey and Syria.

A foreign search team from Kyrgyzstan rescued Samir Mohammed Akar, 49, his wife Ragda, 40, and their 12-year-old son, while excavating the rubble of a residential building in the southern Turkish city of Antakya. This is reported by the Anadolu agency.

They were removed at about 11.30am local time, or 296 hours after the February 6 quake, and quickly transferred to ambulances. TV footage showing medics fixing an IV drip to the man’s arm as he lay on a stretcher.

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One of the Kyrgyz rescuers said the team also found the bodies of two dead children. Anadolu later reported they also were the children of Samir Muhammad and Ragda Accar.

During a visit to Antakya, the capital of Hatay province, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the father was conscious and being treated at Mustafa Kemal University Hospital.

Anadolu published photos showing American TV personality and former US Senate candidate Mehmet Oz visiting the recovering man.

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Reporting on their conversation, Anadolu said Samir Muhammed Accar described how he survived the ordeal by drinking his own urine.

He also told Dr. Oz that his children responded to his voice for the first two or three days but he heard nothing from after that.

Hatay province, where Antakya is located, was one of areas hit hardest by the earthquake, which killed more than 45,000 people in Turkey and Syria. The toll is expected to climb further.

Stories of remarkable survival often emerge during disaster, especially following earthquakes, when the world’s media records the fading hope of recovering survivors as each hour ticks by.

Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, a 16-year-old girl was rescued in Port-Au-Prince 15 days after an earthquake devastated the city. Three years later, a woman trapped under a collapsed building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, was saved after 17 days.

Search and rescue operations are continuing in Turkey, although the head of the country’s disaster response agency said they would end on Sunday.

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