SCDF team rescues Turkish man trapped in rubble following deadly earthquake

Rescuers from the the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Local Emergency Management Agency stayed in constant contact with the trapped man during the operation, which took half an hour
PHOTO: Facebook/SCDF

SINGAPORE - Members of the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) Operation Lionheart have rescued a man in the south-eastern Turkish town of Kahramanmaras on Friday, together with the Local Emergency Management Agency (Lema).

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck on Monday in south-east Turkey and in neighbouring Syria, with a rising death toll that has crossed the 21,000 mark. The earthquake toppled entire apartment blocks, wrecking infrastructure such as hospitals, electrical and water lines, leaving thousands injured and without shelter in near-freezing temperatures.

Members from the SCDF and Lema's teams were dispatched on Thursday 8pm local time (Friday 1am Singapore time) to conduct a search-and-rescue operation after they were notified of faint calls of help from a two-storey building that had partially collapsed, the SCDF said in a Facebook post.

Upon arrival at the location, five Disaster Assistant and Rescue Team members and a paramedic worked with Lema rescuers on the operation.

After ensuring the building's stability, the two teams accessed the second floor through the back of the structure where the calls of help were heard. The SCDF confirmed that a man was trapped behind a large concrete slab through the use of a fibre-optic scope, before Lema used breaking equipment to create an opening.

SCDF said that throughout the half-hour operation, its rescuers and Lema's were in constant contact with the trapped man, who was attended to by locals after he was brought down from the building.

On Wednesday, SCDF officers also rescued a boy from the rubble of a collapsed building in the same town in a three-hour operation that involved the help of local Turkish and Spanish rescue teams.

Spanish rescuers had pinpointed the boy's location with the help of a search dog which was confirmed with the help of SCDF officers' use of a fibre-optic scope.

The advance team of 20 SCDF officers landed in the southern Turkish city of Adana earlier on Wednesday and headed east towards Dulkadiroglu, Kahramanmaras, to begin search-and-rescue operations.

A second team of 48 SCDF personnel and four dogs from its K-9 unit arrived on Friday evening with additional search and rescue equipment, medical supplies, and communications and logistics support equipment.

[Update 5: Joint Rescue Operation at Kanlıdere Cd., Dulkadiroğlu/Kahramanmaraş, Türkiye] Yesterday at about 8 p.m. (10...

Posted by Singapore Civil Defence Force on Friday, February 10, 2023

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.