KIRIKHAN, Turkey (Reuters) -Rescuers pulled a woman alive out of the rubble of a collapsed building in Turkey on Friday, prompting cheers from onlookers 104 hours after she was buried by the huge earthquake that wrought death and destruction across the region.
"Now I believe in miracles," rescue team leader Steven Bayer, said after crews carefully lifted 40-year-old Zeynep Kahraman on a stretcher past shattered blocks of concrete and twisted metal into an ambulance in the town of Kirikhan.
"You can see the people crying and hugging each other. It’s such a huge relief that this woman under such conditions came out so fit. It’s an absolute miracle," he said.
Kahraman lay still, strapped into the stretcher with her arms across her chest, her eyes shielded from the sudden light by dark glasses. Her younger sister Zuebeyde looked on and hugged a worker from the German International Search and Rescue (ISAR) team.
"The woman pulled through. She didn’t give up," rescue dog handler Tamara Reither said as crowds applauded.
"We are all so grateful that she is lying in this ambulance now. I have no words.”
Kahraman's family told Reuters this week they had waited two days for rescuers to arrive after Monday's quake.
The German workers made contact with Zeynep while she was still deep inside the rubble and kept her hydrated through a hose. At one point they helped Zuebeyde climb down a ladder close to her sister's position to speak to her.
The combined death toll stood at 21,000 in southern Turkey and northwest Syria on Friday morning, on the fifth day after the deadliest quake in the region in decades .
Hundreds of thousands more people have been left homeless and short of food in bleak winter conditions, desperate for a multi-national relief effort to alleviate their suffering.
(Reporting by Erol Dogrudogan; Writing by Ben Dangerfield and Andrew Heavens; Editing by Edmund Blair)