A couple and their son were pulled alive from under a collapsed apartment building more than 12 days after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake ravaged parts of Turkiye and Syria, although the child later died at a hospital, Turkish state media reported Saturday. A foreign search team from Kyrgyzstan rescued Samir Muhammed Accar, 49, his wife, Ragda, 40, and their 12-year-old son while digging through the rubble of the apartment building in the southern Turkish city of Antakya, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
They were removed at about 11:30 a.m. local time (8:30 GMT), or 296 hours after the Feb 6 quake, and quickly transferred to ambulances. TV footage showed medics fixing an IV drip to the man's arm as he lay on a stretcher. 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. Reporting on their conversation, Anadolu said Samir Muhammed Accar described how he survived the ordeal by drinking his 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 them after that.
Hatay province, where Antakya is located, was one of the areas hit hardest by the earthquake, which killed at least 40,642 people in Turkiye and 3,688 in Syria. Search and rescue operations are continuing in Turkiye, although the head of the country's disaster response agency said they would end on Sunday.