Video: Boy, 13, pulled from earthquake rubble in Turkey

  1. Transcript of: Boy, 13, pulled from earthquake rubble in Turkey

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: A 13 -year-old boy who was buried under earthquake rubble for more than four days was pulled out alive early this morning in Turkey . He's the second survivor rescued within the span of just a few hours. Their survival made all the more incredible by the fact that it's been bitterly cold and raining for a lot of the time since that magnitude 7.2 quake struck on Sunday. Death toll now stands at about 535 with more than 2500 people reporting injuries.

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updated 10/28/2011 7:11:00 PM ET 2011-10-28T23:11:00

A 13-year-old boy was pulled from a collapsed building without injury on Friday, five days after Turkey's powerful earthquake struck, and state-run TV said he survived by drinking rain water that seeped through cracks in the wreckage around him.

The boy, Ferhat Tokay, also used shoes under his head as a pillow and peered through a tiny gap in the wreckage to see when it was day or night outside, his uncle said.

Tokay was discovered early Friday morning, soon after rescue workers from Azerbaijan had sent the uncle and other relatives away from the site to get some rest, saying there was no chance of finding the missing boy alive.

"He didn't even have a scratch on him!" the uncle, Sahin Tokay, told NTV television. "He was hungry on the first day, but the hunger pangs later disappeared."

The 7.2 magnitude quake leveled about 2,000 buildings in eastern Turkey on Sunday, killing at least 575 people and leaving about 2,500 injured and thousands of homeless.

Authorities say another 5,700 buildings are now unfit for habitation.

The government's crisis management center said 187 people have been freed from the rubble alive.

Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said search and rescue efforts were continuing "in small sections" of Ercis, the hardest-hit area. "Hopefully we will be successful in pulling out survivors there too," he told reporters.

But news from one of those sites was gloomy. Rescuers recovered the body of a missing father whose 2-week-old baby girl had been pulled alive from the rubble with her mother and grandmother on Tuesday.

Ferhat Tokay was working in a shoe shop on the ground floor of a multistory building in the town when the quake hit. State-run Anatolia news agency said he kept alive by drinking water that reached him in the wreckage during heavy rains.

Ferhat Tokay
Anonymous  /  AP
Turkish rescuers tend to Ferhat Tokay, 13, after he was pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building in Turkey early Friday.

'We prayed'
Turkey is mostly Muslim, and in Ercis on Friday many people held traditional Muslim prayers outdoors, in parks or in streets strewn with rubble from the earthquake.

Others prayed in tents or in the few mosques still standing, Anatolia said.

One of them was the Seyid Muhammed mosque. Its only damage is a gaping crack at the foot of its minaret.

As men entered it to pray Friday, its imam, Selahattin Tasdemir, said: "It wouldn't have been considered a sin to not pray today because these people are victims and in a difficult situation."

"But their conscience wouldn't allow it. They're used to praying, so we prayed," he said in an interview with Associated Press Television News.

Burhan Ozbilici  /  AP
An earthquake survivor carries free soup and lemons distributed by Turkish Red Crescent in a tent city set up in a soccer field in Ercis, Van, Turkey, on Thursday.

The 213-person Azerbaijani rescue team that saved Tokay on Friday is equipped with sniffer dogs and it has saved nine other people from the wreckage since Sunday night.

On Thursday, the team pulled 18-year-old Imdat Padak from another destroyed building in Ercis. During that effort, rubble hit one of its sniffer dogs, Cip, while it was searching a narrow gap, seriously injuring its paws.

Meanwhile, aid workers delivered tents, prefabricated homes, blankets and heaters from a dozen other countries to the desolate and cold areas hit by the quake.

Survivors complained about a shortage of tents following the quake and the government acknowledged initial difficulties in sending aid. Officials also have said some aid trucks have been looted before reaching Ercis.

Sahin, the interior minister, said the shortage of tents had largely been overcome by Friday.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: November aftershock

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  1. Rescue workers carry earthquake survivor Mehmet Zengin to an ambulance after he was found in a collapsed building in Van, eastern Turkey, on Thursday, Nov. 10. Rescue workers searched for survivors under rubble in eastern Turkey after the second earthquake in three weeks. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Rescue workers try to save people from a collapsed building after an earthquake in Van, eastern of Turkey on Nov. 10. (Ali Ihsan Ozturk / Andolu Agency via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Rescue workers carry earthquake survivor Atsushi Miyazaki to an ambulance after he was found in a collapsed hotel in Van, eastern Turkey, on Nov. 10. (Anatolia via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Rescuers carry earthquake survivor Miyuki Konnai, from Japan, after a magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck Van pm Nov. 10. Rescue workers pulled the Japanese woman, who was part of a rescue and relief team sent to Van from Japan after an earthquake hit the same area less than three weeks ago, to safety from the rubble of the collapsed Bayram Hotel early on Thursday. (Reuters TV) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A survivor is assisted after an earthquake in Van on Wednesday, Nov. 9. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Rescuers work to save people from a collapsed hotel after an earthquake in Van on Nov. 9. (Evrim Aydin / Anadolu Agency via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A man runs toward a van crushed under a collapsed building in Van on Nov. 9. (Salih Zeki Fazlioglu / Anadolu Agency via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
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