A three-year-old girl has been rescued alive from rubble on Monday, days after a magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit Turkey's Aegean coast.
Elif Perincek was pulled from debris in the Bayrakli district of western Izmir province nearly 65 hours after the quake.
Elif was the 106th person to be rescued from the rubble and she was taken to hospital.
In a Twitter post, Mehmet Gulluoglu, the head of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), expressed pleasure over rescue of the little girl.
About 23 hours after the quake, Elif’s mother Seher Dereli Perincek and her 10-year-old twin siblings Ezel and Elzem Perincek, as well as her seven-year-old brother Umut Perincek were pulled from rubble. However, Umut lost his life, while her mother and other two siblings are under treatment.
Speaking to reporters following the rescue operation for Elif, firefighter Muammer Celik shared his emotions, saying: “Elif held my finger […] I cleaned dust on her face.”
Celik said he took her out together with a co-worker and added that Elif did not leave his finger until they reached the first aid tent.
"That child deserves to live to the end," he said.
As firefighters, he said, they never lose hope "until the very last moment".
"We never lost hope for Elif, as well."
Among the first responders to Elif, Tolga Unsel, a paramedic from the National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE), told Anadolu Agency that she was still when they reached her.
At first we thought she died, Unsel said, but later she moved her eyes while extricating her from the rubble. “It was truly a miracle for us.”
With the first response for the little girl starting at the front of the hole, the paramedics later placed her on a trauma board and put a neck collar on her neck to take her to the field hospital.
"While we were taking her from our first aid tent to our ambulance, she was holding the finger of one of our UMKE members. I mean she was in good condition," he said.
"We also got information from hospital. She was in intensive care for precautionary purposes," he added.
Turkey is among the world's most seismically active zones as it is situated on several active fault lines. It has suffered devastating earthquakes in the past as well.