Turkey-Syria earthquake: Volunteers from Yate rescue mother and child from rubble

Volunteers from a South Gloucestershire charity have landed in Turkey to help with search and rescue missions after Monday's devastating earthquake.

The highly trained volunteers are from the charity Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters (Saraid) which is based in Yate.

They will be providing immediate humanitarian support to help those affected.

The first team members landed in Kahramanmaraş last night (8 February) and immediately went to their first rescue.

Volunteer Alex Rogers described the situation: "The many rubble piles blocking the roads made it very difficult to get through the city.

"We eventually found our friends of @Fire who had been working for around 24 hours on a collapsed building where a mother and child were trapped and were starting to tire.

"They had made good progress, but had hit a wall, literally, as a radiator was blocking their way.

"They had tried to cut through it, but it was taking too long."

The volunteers worked together to dig a trench under the front of the building.

Structural engineers then assessed the structure and advised the safest way in.

Volunteers from Saraid left from Stansted Airport last night (8 February) Credit: Saraid UK

Alex went on to explain: "Finally, after excavating about 2.5 m into the soil, we found a concrete wall.

"Our USAR Technician Alex Kerr with @Fire breached through the wall and inserted our First Look 360 camera which allows us to see inside the structure.

"To our amazement, we saw a hand on the camera and an interpreter was able to speak to the mother, who was alive and in good health.

"Suddenly, the child appeared at the void and we helped her down the debris and out the tunnel.

"The mother then crawled down with Matty's assistance, and there were very emotional scenes from the locals, with cheers and tears all around.

"It was a remarkable and touching moment for everyone involved, and a testament to the bravery and skill of the SARAID and @Fire teams.”

Kris Hurley, a Saraid volunteer, is joining his team out in Turkey tonight (9 February)

A further ten volunteers are being deployed to Adana in Turkey today (9 February).

Kris Hurley, who spends his days working as a librarian, is also a trained volunteer with Saraid.

Kris said: "The main reason for going is to bring hope. People in these circumstances want to know that there are people who want to come and help them.

"The dream outcome for us would be to make a real difference out there. Our team have pulled two people out already. If we can pull some more people out and keep them alive, that would be it for us."

The death toll has now risen to nearly 20,000, making it one of the world's deadliest earthquakes in more than a decade.

Now the struggle is to survive the aftermath, as those whose homes have been destroyed are left stranded in the plummeting temperatures.

But the work of volunteers, like the team from Saraid, will give people a glimmer of hope that help is on its way.