ISTANBUL: Search and rescue teams amazingly found more survivors in the ruins of the Feb. 6 earthquake that devastated swaths of Turkey and Syria even as the death toll from worst disaster in modern Turkish history increased.
Here’s a look at the key developments Saturday from the aftermath of the earthquake.
DEATH TOLL IN TURKEY PASSES 40,000
The president of Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency, Yunus Sezer, said the number of earthquake deaths in the country has grown to 40,642.
The new figure takes the combined death toll in Turkey and Syria to 44,330. The U.N. has said the full scope of the deaths in Syria may take time to determine.
THREE RESCUED IN HARD-HIT HATAY PROVINCE
A couple and their son were extracted from under an apartment building in Antakya, the capital of Hatay province, on the 13th day of rescue operations, although the child later died.
The three were transferred to ambulances after spending 296 hours buried under the Kanatli apartment building in the center of the city, local TV reported. Footage showed medics fixing an IV drip to the man’s arm as he lay on a stretcher.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency identified the family as Samir Muhammed Accar, 49, his wife, Ragda, 40, and their 12-year-old son.
The bodies of two other children were also found in the rubble, reports said, quoting a member of a Kyrgyz rescue team.
Hatay was one of the worst hit of the 11 provinces in the Turkish disaster zone.
MISSING SOCCER PLAYER’S BODY FOUND
Search teams have recovered the body of Ghanaian international soccer player Christian Atsu in the ruins of a building that collapsed during the earthquake, his manager said Saturday.
The remains of the 31-year-old soccer star, who had been playing for Turkish Super Lig club Hatayspor, were found in what was left of a luxury 12-story building in Antakya, the same city where the Accar family was found.
“Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble. At the moment, his belongings are still being removed,” the player’s manager, Murat Uzunmehmet, told private Turkish news agency DHA.
Atsu, who previously played for English Premier League clubs Chelsea, Newcastle United, Everton and Bournemouth, signed with Hatayspor late last year.
The Turkish club said his body was being repatriated to Ghana. “There are no words to describe our sadness,” the club tweeted.
Reports a day after the quake struck had said that Atsu was pulled alive from the rubble of a collapsed building and taken to a hospital for treatment. The club, however, announced days later that Atsu and the club’s sporting director, Taner Savut, were still missing. Savut has not been found.
The contractor who build the Ronesans Rezidans building, where Atsu and Savut lived, was detained at Istanbul Airport a week ago, apparently trying to leave the country.
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