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Boy, 13, rescued from quake rubble

A 13-year-old boy used a rock in a desperate bid to dig himself out as he lay trapped in rubble for five days after the Turkish earthquake.

Rescuers pulled Ferhat Tokay out of the debris of a multi-storey building in the early hours. Shortly before he was rescued, his father had been told to go and get some rest because there was no hope of finding him alive.

He was the latest survivor to emerge from the devastation of the 7.2-magnitude quake that flattened buildings and killed at least 570 people in eastern Turkey on Sunday.

Some 2,500 people have been injured in the quake that brought down about 2,000 buildings and left thousands homeless.

The boy was working in a shoe shop on the ground floor of a multi-storey building in Ercis when the quake hit.

"With a rock, he tried to open up a hole," his uncle, Sahin Tokay, told a TV station. "He thumped on walls to try to open up a space for himself."

Mr Tokay said the boy put shoes under his head and used them as a pillow to sleep, peering through a tiny gap to distinguish between day and night. He also reportedly drank rain water to keep himself alive.

"He didn't even have a scratch on him! He said he was hungry and asked for food," the uncle said. "He also got his father to promise not to play tile rummy (in coffee houses) anymore," Mr Tokay said in reference to a popular pass-time for men in Turkey.

The 213-person team from the Azeri Special Risk Rescue Service, equipped with sniffer dogs, have pulled out 10 survivors since arriving to offer help late on Sunday, including Tokay and 18-year-old Imdat Padak who was brought out late on Thursday.

The government's crisis management centre said 187 people have been freed from rubble alive. Search and rescue operations have ended in the provincial capital of Van, but are continuing in Ercis.


From Belfast Telegraph