Heartbreaking image: Turkish father does not let go of the hand of deceased daughter (15) under rubble | Massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria

An image that grabs at the throat: a Turkish father lovingly holds the hand of his deceased daughter, in the middle of the rubble of a collapsed building.

Irmak (15) is buried under a concrete block in Kahramanmaras, a town not far from the epicenter of the devastating earthquake. Mesut Hancer’s determined look betrays that he is far from letting go of her.


It is a race against time for rescue teams to pull survivors from the rubble. In addition to a strong wind and some snow here and there, the freezing cold plays a crucial role.

LOOK. Rescue teams save one survivor after another, like little Nour

“The general rule is that you can survive a maximum of four days after the acute rescue phase,” says Captain Bastiaan Ruys (32) of Civil Protection. “That is why during the initial phase, work continues around the clock, of course in shifts. We can call the rescues that still happen after those first four days miraculous.”



Even now, however, unlikely stories are emerging. For example, a newborn baby was pulled alive from the rubble in northeastern Syria. The mother gave birth while buried under debris, but died shortly after birth. The father also did not survive the drama.

In Aleppo, an inconsolable father received the body of his deceased baby in his arms. With a few tender kisses he said goodbye.

The strong earthquake has already killed more than 5,000 people. At least eighty aftershocks with a magnitude of 4.5 or higher have also been registered.

Read also: Flemish Civil Protection captain: “Race against time, because after four days every rescue is a miracle” (+)