It took Halil Ibrahim Gokpinar 20 minutes to get out from under the rubble of his collapsed building in Kahramanmaras, Turkey after the earthquake struck on 6 February.
“It was night, but I saw some kind of light and a space, I tried to open the hole and got out,” he told Euronews correspondent Anelise Borges.
But once he was free, the clock started ticking to rescue his wife Cigdem, and child who were still under the rubble of what was once their home. He had to use his bare hands to dig through the wreckage.
“Her lips were purple. It was clear she was out of oxygen and blood. She was not responding to my voice,” he remembered with tears in his eyes.
“Then we took her to the other city hospital and when we got there, it is not possible to describe it as horror.
“We took my wife inside. Forget about beds, chairs, and stretchers. There was no space to put her because of the dead bodies and patients. I had to push people aside and put her on the ground. “
Halil’s wife went through surgery on Tuesday and is still in the ICU.