70-year-old pulled alive as Turkey quake death toll hits 46

IZMIR, Turkey (AP) — Rescue workers extricated a 70-year-old man from a collapsed building in western Turkey on Sunday, some 34 hours after a strong earthquake in the Aegean Sea struck Turkey and Greece, killing at least 46 and injuring more than 900 people.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, raised the death toll in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, to 44 as rescuers pulled more bodies out of toppled buildings. Two teenagers were killed Friday on the Greek island of Samos and at least 19 others were injured.

The Friday afternoon earthquake, which the Istanbul-based Kandilli Institute said had a magnitude of 6.9, was centered in the Aegean northeast of Samos. AFAD said it measured 6.6 and hit at a depth of some 16 kilometers (10 miles).

A small tsunami was triggered in the Seferihisar district of Izmir, drowning one elderly woman, and on the Greek island. The tremors were felt across western Turkey, including in Istanbul, as well as the Greek capital, Athens. Hundreds of aftershocks followed.

AFAD said 896 people were injured in Turkey.

Ahmet Citim, 70, was pulled out from the rubble shortly after midnight Sunday and was hospitalized. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that the man said: “I never lost my hope.”

Search-and-rescue teams continued work in nine buildings in Izmir as day broke on the third day.

Turkey is crossed by fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. In 1999, two powerful quakes killed some 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey. Earthquakes are frequent in Greece as well.

The quake occurred as Turkey was already struggling with an economic downturn and the coronavirus pandemic. So far, more than 10,000 people with the virus have died in Turkey.

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Bilginsoy reported from Istanbul.

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