'Can I have a cigarette?' survivor jokes as he's miraculously pulled from rubble with wife after 109 hours

10 February 2023, 14:45

Over 22,000 people have died after the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria
Over 22,000 people have died after the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Picture: Sky News/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A married couple have been miraculously rescued from beneath building rubble nearly five days after Monday's earthquake in Turkey.

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Haci Murat Kilinc and his wife Raziye spent around 109 hours side-by-side, some 100 miles from the epicentre of the first earthquake, before they were rescued.

They were cheered as they were pulled from the rubble alive, as the death toll stands at 22,300.

The 72-hour window, in which survivors are most likely to be found alive, has passed, but there is still stories of people being rescued alive over 100 hours after the earthquake struck.

The man joked: 'Can I have a cigarette?'
The man joked: 'Can I have a cigarette?'. Picture: Sky News
The couple were pulled from the rubble alive
The couple were pulled from the rubble alive. Picture: Sky News

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As he was pulled from the rubble, Mr Kilinc joked that he would like a cigarette and a cup of tea, according to Sky.

Both Syria and Turkey fell victim to a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that razed buildings, killed thousands, injured many others, and left families separated.

Zeyep Civi, a 22-year-old student, was also rescued alive alongside her sister after the 72-hour window passed.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accepted that there were some problems with the government's initial response to the disaster.

Turkish President Erdogan speaks to press after visiting the tent city in quake-hit Adiyaman
Turkish President Erdogan speaks to press after visiting the tent city in quake-hit Adiyaman. Picture: Getty

Mr Erdoğan pledged Turkey "will rebuild" and apologised to survivors as they struggle to rescue everyone who remains trapped.

"It is not possible to explain the grief we have. I know words are not enough," he said.

He also warned citizens to ignore "provocateurs" who seek to spread "lies" about the Turkish government and his response.

"I am asking all my citizens: do not allow any provocations. Do not believe them. We have to stand together in such a period.

"They are bad people and saying bad things about our nation. We will give the right answer to them when it is time."

He added: "There has been a lot of provocation, thieves and stealing but the government will do its best to prevent it and to find people who commit harm to victims of the earthquake.

"Of course we have difficulties and negatives but believe me we are with victims of the earthquake."

Local residents walk in the rubble of a destroyed mosque in Hatay
Local residents walk in the rubble of a destroyed mosque in Hatay. Picture: Getty

The UK has pledged £8 million to Turkey to deal with the disaster, alongside a team of 77 UK search and rescue specialists, equipment and search dogs.

Meanwhile, the King and Queen Consort, as well as the Prince and Princess of Wales, have donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee's fund, which now stands at £32.9 million.

The King has donated to a fund dedicated to victims of the Turkish earthquake
The King has donated to a fund dedicated to victims of the Turkish earthquake. Picture: Getty

This also includes £5 million which has been matched by the UK government.

Salah Saeed, its chief executive, called for the public to keep up the momentum to ensure the charities can do more to help those in need.

"I am tremendously grateful to all the people who have already donated to the DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal," he said.

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