NSW Firefighters recover the bodies of earthquake victims in Türkiye - VIDEO - Antakya, Turkiye

Published: 16 Feb 2023 01:41pm

Fire and Rescue NSW firefighters have recovered the bodies of at least 14 victims as they sort through the rubble of the devastating Türkiye earthquake zone.

The 52 FRNSW Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) technicians are part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Disaster Assistant Response team (DART) deployment to the historic city of Antakya, where they report the damage as much worse than first thought.

The firefighters have been assigned to four USAR teams.

The main objectives of their mission are:

  • Search and Rescue capability in a range of environments and situations
  • Proactive action to mitigate any further damage or harm
  • Provide briefings and taskings for incoming USAR teams
  • Provide engineering and/or geo-technical capabilities regarding the structural integrity of of buildings and infrastructure

The Australian USAR experts are among 150 international teams responding to the disaster.

Already the firefighters and their emergency services colleagues have recovered more than a dozen bodies from the debris.

They are working closely with other international rescue deployments including a Chinese K-9 search team, which led the Australians to a collapsed building where the dogs picked up traces of two victims.

The teams also worked three hours, supporting a Spanish search and rescue team after reports of possible survivors under rubble. No survivors were ultimately located.

Four of the Australian Aid technicians are also helping to co-ordinate international efforts in 19 search and rescue worksites in the Hatay province, where an estimated 103 people have been saved by local and international first responders.

Those co-ordinators are advising rescuers from France, Portugal, India, Argentina, Spain, Moldova, Ukraine and Romania.

Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner, Paul Baxter, said the NSW firefighters and their facilities are making a positive impression on their international colleagues.

“Our people are well-drilled at these sorts of disasters,” Commissioner Baxter said, “They’re prepared for anything, especially in USAR environments.

“They have set up a Base of Operations (BoO) with supplies and decontamination facilities.

“These first responders are professionals of the highest order with terrific technical knowledge that can assist the other international rescue crews around them,” he said, “We’re very proud of the job they’re doing.”


Media note: FRNSW video and grabs including an interview with FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter can be obtained here: https://vimeo.com/799329721/bb0f0577f9 [external link]   _Footage and grabs from DFAT are available here: https://vimeo.com/799330743/2ccf982f52 [external link] _

Updated: 16 Feb 2023 01:45pm

listView more incidents

Details about this incident may change and should not be used as emergency information and/or advice.

For all life threatening emergencies, call Triple Zero (000)

For flood information, warnings or requests for non-life threatening assistance, call the SES on 132 500 or visit the NSW State Emergency Service website here. [external link].

For information directly relating to bushfires please call the Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737 or visit the NSW Rural Fire Service Website here. [external link]