Family of five rescued after 40 hours under earthquake rubble in Syria

More than 11,800 people in Syria and Turkey have been killed so far

A family is rescued from rubble in Bisnia, Syria, February 7. The White Helmets / Reuters
Powered by automated translation

The White Helmets rescue group pulled a family of five from under the rubble of a fallen building on Wednesday, 40 hours after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake first hit Syria and Turkey.

The rescue brought a rare moment of joy during a disaster that has so far killed more than 11,200 people.

In a video the group shared of the operation, a rescuer shouts "Yousef, come to me," as he reaches into the darkness under piles of debris that once made up the family home in Idlib.

Rescuers first pulled out the father, who they carried off on a stretcher, then a young child who looked around her in confusion at what appeared to be hundreds of people cheering on in joy.

A boy and another girl, all about the same age, were taken to an ambulance.

In the video, their father who was now standing, seemed overjoyed, screaming in bewilderment from inside the ambulance as his children arrived one by one.

Another hamper with a person covered in a blanket was then brought in.

"She's alive! She's alive!" a man said, referring to the children's mother.

The family is generally in "good health", White Helmets rescuer Fatima Abid, who was at the scene, told The National.

"Our joy as volunteers and the families was very strong. It gave us motivation and excitement to keep going and keep doing our work with maximum capacity and ability," she added.

Another White Helmets rescuer called the operation a "victory and great accomplishment".

Residents said there were 13 buildings in that neighbourhood, all of which were destroyed. Temperatures continue to drop and aid is yet to arrive through Turkey to north-west Syria.

Updated: February 08, 2023, 3:06 PM