WATCH: IDF rescues 23-year-old from under earthquake rubble

The 23-year-old woman was rescued after a 4.5 hour mission and has been reunited with her fiance.

The IDF rescue mission to Turkey rescued a 23-year-old woman from under the rubble of a collapsed building on Tuesday night, February 8, 2022. (VIDEO CREDIT: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The IDF has saved four Turkish citizens as of Wednesday night as part of its “Olive Branch” rescue operations into the earthquake disaster, with rescue efforts to save two more Turks ongoing at press time.

Further, the IDF by Wednesday night had sent 15 aircraft full of hundreds of tons of medical and other supplies along with a 150-person rescue team and a 230-person medical field hospital team.

Wednesday saw some heart-warming moments with raw videos coming out showing IDF rescue workers extricating Turkish citizens from being trapped in collapsed buildings and facing otherwise virtually certain death.

But IDF Col. Golan Voch told a briefing of Israeli media reporters that the next two days or so past the 72-hour point since the earthquake would be critical in terms of finding other survivors.

Who did the IDF manage to save?

In one incident, IDF rescuers found a two-year-old boy under the rubble of a collapsed structure.

 An IDF soldier is seen moving rescue equipment into a truck as part of Operation Olive Branch, aimed at providing aid to Turkey after a deadly earthquake, on February 6, 2023. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) An IDF soldier is seen moving rescue equipment into a truck as part of Operation Olive Branch, aimed at providing aid to Turkey after a deadly earthquake, on February 6, 2023. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

A member of the IDF rescue teams, Capt. Alon Hominer, said the engineering operation lasted several hours.

He said that the IDF had received information from Turkey “that there were sounds of a baby crying, and we joined the mission,” to save him.

Hominer said they had expended “great medical and engineering efforts” to save the boy.

Overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday, the IDF rescue team located a shaft from a building which had completely collapsed.

In this case, the rescuers crawled through the shaft and heard voices calling out for help.

Eventually, the rescuers were able to discern that there was a 12-year-old boy stuck alone, after four of his family members had been tragically killed in the same room where he remained.

After four-and-a-half hours, they were able to save the boy.

An IDF official said that bringing him through the shaft was likely the boy being reborn.

Also overnight on Tuesday, the rescue mission was able to save a 23-year-old woman who had been trapped underneath the rubble since Monday morning, Maj. (Res.) Matan Schneider recounted.

The mission to rescue the woman also took around four-and-a-half hours from start to finish and was conducted after the team heard noises coming from beneath rubble on the side of the road they were traveling on.

"The woman emerged healthy and whole, with only a fractured pelvis," Schneider said in a recorded statement. "She was evacuated and has returned to her fiance."

A video of the rescue mission, with the face of the woman obscured, was subsequently shared by the IDF.

IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav said that the rescue operations were proceeding full throttle despite extremely difficult inclement weather conditions, including emergency regulations to ensure soldier-rescuers avoid harm as a result of the cold weather.

IDF rescue commander Col. Golan Voch said, “The delegation has 150 rescuers and is also building a field hospital. We are in the early days of searching to find and rescue people who are trapped. We did this very successfully so far.”

“We have already saved four people and are already working on saving a fifth person. There is also a possible chance to save a sixth person. This is a high level of success compared to how much time we have had to work,” said Voch.

He said that 10 other countries have sent delegations, but that Israel’s preparedness and effectiveness is among the highest level. To date, he said that only Azerbaijan has a larger delegation with 400 personnel to assist.

Voch said, “We will go over 420 personnel soon. All Israeli citizens can be proud. The speed with which we got to the field has been impressive and we hope we will continue with success going forward.”

Asked if there will be little hope to find more survivors soon, given that the 72 hour point will be crossed soon, Voch said “all the time we are finding more people. In the past, we have found even after 100 hours. Some buildings have maintained some heat and some survivors have other items to stay warm.”

He said that they will not give up for five to six days and that the rescuers expect to stay in Turkey for 9-14 days.

The medical delegation is being led by IDF Col. Elad Edri and includes a mix of doctors, nurses and paramedics, including some from the Health Ministry.

A statement indicated that all members of the delegation would receive the appropriate vaccinations for avoiding transmitting diseases globally.

Members of the medical delegation are expected to remain in Turkey longer than the search and rescue team, Voch said.