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This young man recorded a farewell message on his cell phone when he was buried under the rubble of the earthquake in Turkey


"There is a lot I regret. May God forgive me for all my sins. If I get out of here alive today, there are many things I want to do," said the 17-year-old. And he managed to save himself. Rescue teams found the body of footballer Christian Atsu.

By Robert Badendieck and Mucahit Ceylan -

The Associated Press

A 17-year-old high school student recorded a farewell message to his loved ones when he was trapped under the rubble of his home by the February 6 earthquake in Turkey.

Taha Erdem and his family were asleep when the 7.8-magnitude quake hit their hometown of Adiyaman in the early hours of the morning.

Taha woke up when the four-story apartment building they lived in in a working-class neighborhood of the city trembled.

In just 10 seconds he was buried along with his mother, his father and his brother and sister, younger than him, under the remains of the building.

The young man realized he was alone and trapped, with waves of aftershocks shifting the remains of the building, shrinking his space under the twisted concrete and steel.

He then took out his cell phone and began recording a goodbye message, hoping it would be discovered after his death.

I think this is the last video I'll make for you guys

,” he said as the phone trembled in his hand from the jolts in the ruins of the collapsed building.

On video: A 17-year-old girl is rescued from the rubble 10 days after the earthquake in Turkey

Feb 16, 202300:26

With remarkable stamina and bravery, he listed his injuries and talked about his regrets and what he would want to do if he made it out alive.

In the video

you can hear the screams of other trapped people


“We are still shaking.

Death, my friends, comes when you least expect it,” says Taha, who then recites a Muslim prayer. “There is a lot I regret.

May God forgive me all my sins.

If I get out of here alive today, there are a lot of things I want to do.

We're still shaking, yeah

My hand is not shaking, it's the earthquake,” he says, and then goes on to say that he believes his family is dead, along with many others in the city, and that he will soon join them.

But Taha was one of the first rescued from the destroyed building.


pulled him out of the rubble two hours later

and took him to an aunt's house.

Ten hours after the earthquake, his parents and siblings were also saved by local residents who dug through the remains with their bare hands.

[The Turkish city that did not collapse: how Erzin has become a refuge for survivors]

When The Associated Press news agency spoke to the family on Thursday, they were living in a tent provided by the Turkish government, along with hundreds of thousands who survived.

“This is my house,” said her mother, Zeliha, 37, watching as bulldozers dug up what was her life and dumped it into heavy trucks.

Taha Erdem, 17, is in the center of the photo with her mother, Zeliha Erdem, and her father, Ali Erdem.

Behind them, the rubble of the building where they lived can be seen. Mehmet Mucahit Ceylan / AP

“The building collapsed floor by floor on top of us,” she recalled, describing how she had continued to scream her son's name while trapped under rubble.

I thought the five of them could die together as a family.

Her other children, Semanur, 13, and Yigit Cinar, 9, slept in her parents' room. 

But Taha couldn't hear her mother's calls through the mass of concrete.

And she couldn't hear her son's screams in the dark either;

both believed the other was dead. 

Only when Zeliha, her husband Ali, 47, a hospital cleaner, and the other children were brought to her sister's house, did they realize that Taha had survived.

Zeliha felt grateful: "I have nothing, but I have my children."

“Drinking my urine saved me”: Survivor from Turkey recounts his days under rubble

Feb 17, 202302:17

The story of the Erdem family is one of many moving tales of human strength emerging from the vast disaster zone.

Many vividly recount the horrors of being trapped under their homes.

This is the case of Ibrahim Zakaria, a 23-year-old Syrian who was rescued in the Syrian coastal city of Jableh on February 10.

He said he survived by licking the water that dripped down the wall next to him, occasionally losing consciousness.

“I almost gave up because I thought I was going to die,” he said from his hospital bed.

[The construction failure that aggravated the earthquake catastrophe in Turkey and Syria is also present in buildings in California]

In the Turkish city of Gaziantep, 17-year-old Adnan Muhammed Korkut was trapped for four days before being rescued.

He told the IHA news agency that he was so thirsty that he drank his urine.

Taha Erdem, 17, walks with her mother through the remains of the building where they lived in Adiyaman, Turkey.

Mehmet Mucahit Ceylan / AP

[Almost two weeks after the February 6 earthquake in Turkey and Syria, which killed more than 45,000, the chances of finding survivors are almost nil.

But a couple and their son were rescued under the remains of a building in Antioquia, after 296 hours buried, although the 12-year-old minor died in the hospital.

The rescue teams also found the body of Ghanaian international soccer player Christian Atsu among the ruins of another 12-story building in the same city, his representative, Murat Uzunmehmet, told the DHA news agency.

Atsu, 31, played for Hatayspor in the Turkish Super League, after playing for Chelsea, Newcastle United, Everton and Bournemouth in the English Premier League.

One day after the earthquake, he was reported to have been rescued alive, but the club said days later that he was still missing.

The builder of the luxury building in which he was residing was arrested a week ago at the Istanbul airport when he was trying to flee.] 

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-02-18

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