10/24/2011 01:07 pm ET Updated Dec 24, 2011

Turkey Earthquake 2011: Fiancé Saves Trapped Teacher

Her fiancé's determination saved a 25-year-old woman from the rubble in Turkey's earthquake-stricken city of Ercis, Reuters reports.

One day after a destructive quake hit the Turkish province of Van, teacher Gul Karacoban was pulled from underneath the ruins of a restaurant after her fiancé directed rescue workers to the place where she was trapped.

Air force Lieutenant Onur Eryasar rushed from his base in Van, 60 miles from Ercis, after the earthquake hit, and started a frantic search for his love. He located the restaurant she was visting at the time of the quake and asked rescue workers to dig. 18 hours after she was trapped, the woman was freed.

"All I want is for her to live, I don't care if she injured or not. It doesn't matter, I just want her alive," the lieutenant told a Reuters photographer.

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit eastern Turkey on Sunday killed at least 272 people and left hundreds wounded. In Ercis, the town hit the worst, about 80 multistory buildings collapsed. Nearly 200 aftershocks have rattled the area since the initial earthquake.

Turkish Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said that he expects the death toll in Ercis to rise, but not as much as initially feared.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew over the quake zone on Sunday in a helicopter, and later said that "close to all" of the mud-brick homes in the surrounding villages had collapsed.

More than 1,270 aid workers have been sent to the disaster zone, according to the New York Times. A disaster manager for the Turkish Red Crescent, Hakki Erskoy, also emphasized the need for emotional support for victims and their loved ones. "We're working with psychologists to provide the best support that we can," Erskoy told The Guardian.



Turkey Earthquake (CLONED)