Fears for entire team of school volleyball players trapped in Turkey earthquake rubble as death toll hits 20,000

FEARS are growing for an entire school volleyball team trapped under rubble following the catastrophic earthquakes in Turkey.

At least three of the group have been found dead as the disaster’s death toll hit the grim milestone of 20,000 on Thursday.

Famagusta Turkish Maarif CollegeMembers of the girls’ volleyball team from Famagusta Turkish Maarif College remain missing[/caption]

Famagusta Turkish Maarif CollegeRescuers are also searching for members of the boys’ volleyball team[/caption]

GettyAn aerial view of collapsed buildings in Adiyaman[/caption]

Despair has gripped Turkey and Syria since horrifying earthquakes struck on Monday – with thousands still missing.

A girls’ and boys’ volleyball team had travelled to the Turkish city of Adiyaman from Famagusta Turkish Maarif College in Northern Cyprus with teachers and parents for a tournament.

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They were staying at the Isias Hotel when the multi-storey building suddenly crumbled.

Four of the group of 39 miraculously survived the collapse and scrambled out of the wreckage.

But two teachers were found dead on Wednesday, and the body of one of the students on Thursday, according to local media reports.

Panicked parents of the youngsters have travelled to the area as they await news of their children.

Much of the city was razed to the ground when two horror earthquakes struck within hours on Monday.

One mother who flew into the area told Cyprus Mail: “There are no news of our children, whoever we asked told us that no children came out of there.

“The eight-storey hotel has completely collapsed.”

It comes as hopes of finding survivors buried under rubble dwindle.

Experts have warned the survival window for those still trapped under wrecked buildings is diminishing as the days go by.

David Alexander, professor of emergency planning and management at University College London said: “Statistically, today is the day when we’re going to stop finding people.

“That doesn’t mean we should stop searching.”

Turkish officials said almost 3,000 buildings had collapsed in seven different provinces, including public hospitals.

Heartbreaking photos and videos show bodies being pulled from the toppled buildings in cities reduced to ruins following one of the deadliest earthquakes worldwide in more than a decade. 

Emergency crews used pick axes, shovels and jackhammers to dig through twisted metal and concrete and occasionally still pulled out survivors.

But in some places, their focus shifted to demolishing unsteady buildings.

Heartbreaking footage showed the moment a little girl protected her brother while trapped under rubble.

The youngsters were rescued after being stuck for 36 hours.

Miriam, seven, desperately clung to her younger brother as she begged the rescue worker to “get us out of here”.

The massive 7.8 magnitude quake stuck early on Monday with such force that it moved the country 10ft.

Two further earthquakes struck in the 24 hours after the initial tremor, leaving a trail of destruction stretching for hundreds of miles along Turkey’s border with Syria.

The death toll on Thursday tragically surpassed 20,000.

Turkish authorities confirmed 17,134 people have died, while at least 3,317 have been found dead in Syria – bringing the total to 20,451.

Sun readers have helped send more than £500,000 to those affected by the disaster through our Earthquake Appeal after just two days of fundraising.

All money from The Sun’s aid plea is being donated to the British Red Cross, providing on-the-ground relief in the wake of the disaster in Turkey and Syria.

GettyTwo-year-old Mert Tartar was save after 79 hours under rubble[/caption]

Jam Press VidA girl pictured protecting her younger brother[/caption]

ReutersAn aerial view shows collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaras[/caption]

APResidents pick their way through the destruction in Aleppo, Syria[/caption]

APThese images show the damage before and after the deadly quake[/caption]

GettyCrews are frantically searching for survivors[/caption]

The Sun


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