Search and rescue teams dispatched from Azerbaijan to help relief efforts following the devastating earthquake in Van on Oct. 23 have taken the lead in saving two unlikely survivors trapped under tons of rubble.
“His family came over, hugged and thanked us after [we] pulled him out,” Azerbaijani Cpt. Süleyman Zade
said following the rescue of 12-yearold Ferhat Tokay. “I want to believe, that we will to rescue plenty more from underneath the wreckage.”
Tokay had spent 108 hours trapped beneath a building until he was extricated early on the morning of Oct. 28. The Azeri team joined rescue efforts in the district of Erciş, the epicenter of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake, immediately after they arrived in the area in the wake of the temblor.
“When we first reached [Tokay], he told us he was fine but asked for water and bread, as he was hungry and thirsty. His overall condition was fine. We forgot about all our fatigue after we pulled him out. We were on cloud nine,” Zade said, adding that he had spoken to Tokay from underneath the rubble, and that it was difficult to describe his feelings.
Tokay was reported to be in fair condition and is currently receiving treatment in a hospital, Zade said.
Azerbaijani teams were also present during efforts to rescue İmdat Padak, who was removed from the rubble of a five-story building 101 hours after the quake struck. Padak, 18, was rescued on the evening of Oct. 27. Seven other people were also rescued from the ruins of collapsed buildings by the Azerbaijani team, Zade said. The Azerbaijani team is composed of 150 military personnel specializing in search and rescue missions.