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Wednesday, Mar 22, 2023

Hats off to returning Hong Kong rescue heroes after saving four in Turkey

Chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu said he was very proud of Hong Kong’s search-and-rescue team deployed to earthquake-struck Turkey as the 59-strong crew returned in the early hours on Saturday after rescuing four survivors there.
The team was welcomed by the city leader Lee, Director of Health Ronald Lam Man-kin, and Deputy Director of Immigration Benson Kwok Joon-fung at the airport.

Deputy chief fire officer Yiu Men-yeung, also the rescue team commander, said every scene in the earthquake areas was shocking as all buildings in the city had either collapsed or fallen.

They carried out reinforcement works to stabilize the structures and then dug up rescue tunnels in hopes of finding any survivors, Yiu noted.

During nine days of the mission, the team successfully rescued four survivors and found six bodies under the debris.

Yiu also thanked the Chinese national rescue team and the Chinese consul general in Turkey for blankets, tips on staying warm, and food they offered under the blistering cold.

The Chinese rescue team offered them fuel so that they could keep their rescue devices on for an extended period, Yiu also said, pointing to the rich experiences of the Chinese team.

Families were spotted welcoming their heroes to return home, with some bringing their children alongside them as well. A few even shed tears of joy after seeing rescuers arriving safe and sound.

Meanwhile, Lee thanked every member of the rescue team for their commitment and praised the team for their valiant efforts to save lives.

“The team showed no fear when faced with difficult conditions in the quake-stricken areas and successfully rescued four survivors. They have displayed great professionalism and valiant dedication in the process,” Lee said.

He also addressed the Consul General of Turkey, Peyami Kalyoncu, saying, “I have every confidence that your people will soon recover from their injuries, overcome the difficulty and rebuild their communities.”

Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung, who attended a welcoming ceremony in Beijing for the Chinese rescue team, also posted photos of him serving hot milk tea to Hong Kong rescuers on the returning flight.

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