Rescue Hopes Fade In Lethal Turkish Quake

Using equipment that can hear a heartbeat through stone, rescuers scoured rubble piles Tuesday even as chances ebbed that the ruins of a lethal earthquake would yield more survivors.

Sunday’s 6.0-magnitude quake killed at least 78 people and injured 212. The number of missing remained unknown. With few buildings left to search, the death toll was not expected to rise beyond 100.

At a site where 11 people, six alive, have been pulled out since Sunday, rescue operations resumed Tuesday morning after new witnesses spoke of more people in the building during the quake.

German, Swiss and Greek rescue teams are helping in the search. The five-member German team searched the collapsed building using sophisticated equipment that can measure heartbeats or hear breathing from under the rubble. They found no sign of life.

The six-member Swiss team, along with three specially trained dogs, searched for bodies. When the dogs barked at the same point under the rubble, there was confirmation that a dead body or bodies existed.

At the other site, the 24-member Greek team was drilling a hole through the rubble to reach 45-year-old Cennet Aydin. Her brother, Serafettin Sagbas, watched with little hope.

“We can take out the dead later. Now we hope to save this woman here,” said Panayotis Carydis, leader of the Greek team. “We heard her moan the night of the quake. … I don’t think she is alive anymore.”

At another spot, rescue workers found a woman, dead, with her three-month-old baby’s body firmly in her arms.

Most of the town’s state-owned buildings collapsed. The Public Works Ministry launched an investigation Tuesday.

Hundreds of residents continued for a second day to await the distribution of tents at front yard of the Red Crescent, the Islamic equivalent of the Red Cross.

The government has mentioned plans for building quake housing, but nothing is firm.

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