Cries of joy greeted a small girl as she was pulled out of the rubble alive in Turkey’s Izmir on Tuesday, some 91 hours after an earthquake flattened parts of this coastal city.
Video from the scene showed an ashen-faced and wide-eyed Ayda Gezgin, 3, as she was freed from the wreckage of a building. Crowds of rescuers in hardhats clapped and cried “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is Great,” in celebration.
The child, whose hair was caked with dust, was immediately wrapped in a gold foil blanket and carried to an ambulance through a sea of rescue workers.
Turkey’s disaster and emergency agency originally identified the child as 4-year-old Ayla Gezgin, but Health Minister Fahrettin Koca later said she was 3-year-old Ayda Gezgin.
“Ayda is the name of the miracle,” tweeted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Thank you God to give us new hope with your smiley eyes.”
Her rescue, which occurred shortly after 10 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET), was broadcast live on Turkish TV. Rescue worker Cemil Kaya told NBC News by telephone that Ayda was found behind a dishwasher in the remnants of a kitchen.
In footage shot inside the ambulance and put out by the Turkish Health Ministry, Ayda asks for a traditional Turkish meal.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Saphora Smith and Aziz Akyavas