Photo Credit: Magen David Adom
A member of the Israeli search and rescue team working in Turkey.

An Israeli search and rescue team working in the southern Turkish city of Marash (Kahramanmaraş) is trying an unusual method of reaching a victim underneath the rubble of a collapsed building after spending several hours unsuccessfully digging down and sideways towards him.

The team is now digging underneath the building with the plan to reach the man by drilling upwards.


The victim is a man in his 50s who has been able to speak to the rescuers.

Israeli search and rescue workers have already rescued four Turks in other areas of Marash, including a 12-year-old boy and a 23-year-old woman who had been trapped in the rubble for nearly 48 hours.

“We are working around the clock to save lives and indeed we located two trapped under the rubble,” said Felix Lotan, a Magen David Adom paramedic who joined the Israeli search and rescue team. “The cold is very bitter so time is critical. We are doing everything we can to save as many lives as possible in the complex conditions.”

An earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck southern Turkey and Syria on Monday morning. The official death toll from Turkey and Syria combined stands at 11,204 and continues climbing. Many of the stricken villages are in remote areas of Turkey and Syria with little communication and the World Health Organization said the death toll may reach 20,000.

Thousands of buildings collapsed and emergency teams from around the world are racing to find survivors in often freezing temperatures.

Israeli and Turkish officials are considering where to place an Israel Defense Force field hospital which will be deployed in the coming days. The field hospital will be staffed by 230 doctors, nurses and paramedics.

Meanwhile, Syria denied that it requested humanitarian assistance from Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel would also provide assistance to Syria after receiving a request conveyed through a third-party.

Netanyahu did not specify who passed along the request, but Hebrew media reports said it was Russia. The Hebrew reports said Israel would provide medication, blankets and tents.

In 2016, Israel opened its field hospital in the Golan Heights to provide medical aid, fuel and other humanitarian aid for civilians caught up in the Syrian Civil War. The field hospital was closed after Bashar Assad’s regime re-established control of southern Syria in Sept. 2018.

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