Turkish woman dies day after her rescue following 104 hours under earthquake rubble

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A woman died in hospital on Saturday a day after she was pulled out of the rubble of a collapsed building in southern Turkey, where she had been trapped for 104 hours since Monday’s devastating earthquake, rescuers said.

German rescuers pulled 40-year-old Zeynep Kahraman out of the rubble in the town of Kirikhan in southern Turkey on Friday. They hailed her survival a “miracle” as search and rescue efforts in the aftermath of the region’s deadliest quake in decades kept turning up more bodies.

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“We have just learned from the brother and sister that Zeynep sadly passed away in the hospital,” said Steven Bayer, the leader of German International Search and Rescue team. “We have just informed the team that she has unfortunately passed away and are now processing this in the team.”

As some rescuers, choking back tears, comforted each other, the team doctor said the risks were particularly high during the first 48 hours after such complicated rescue operation.

“After all, she was really buried for over 100 hours. Not trapped, but buried,” Peter Kaub said.

But he stressed the rescuers’ effort was not in vain.

“To be able to die in the arms of one’s family and to be able to live the last moments before that, every second counts,” he said. “After 10 hours, after we started, she had first human contact and could talk to the translator and to us, then even to her family. And in the end, her family was able to hold her in their arms.”

Kahraman’s family told Reuters earlier that rescuers had arrived two days after Monday’s quake.

The German workers made contact with the woman while she was still deep inside the rubble and kept her hydrated through a hose. At one point they helped her sister climb down a ladder close to Zeynep’s position to speak to her.

The combined death toll from Monday’s quake in southern Turkey and northern Syria now exceeded 24,000.

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