site.btaBack Home from Turkiye, Mountain Rescuers Share Harrowing Impressions
Back home from their mission to Turkiye, the Bansko- and Razlog-based Bulgarian mountain rescuers said "they had left their hearts" in the debris in the disaster area where they joined the efforts to find earthquake survivors after arriving on site on February 6.
Working in a team with their three trained dogs, Nord, Hera and Niko, the rescuers located at least seven people who had survived the violent tremors under the ruins of their homes.
"The atmosphere there is of an excruciating tragedy, with death, devastation and anguish all over the place," says Atanas Ukov of the Bansko Mountain Rescue Squad. "We had to try to distance ourselves from all those emotions so as to be able to work adequately and professionally. The dogs, too, sensed our emotions, and they pulled themselves together and performed over and beyond. We have never before seen them work with such motivation and enthusiasm for so long," the rescuer said.
The Bulgarian team "ran like clockwork".
The mission provided the two squads with invaluable experience, Razlog Mountain Rescue Service Squad head Lyubcho Djolev told journalists. "That was the first time we had to cope with anything of the kind, but we think we did a rather good job, both our team and all other Bulgarian teams there, from Sofia Municipality and Fire Safety and Civil Protection," he commented. "Even if we have saved just a single human life, it was worth it, but we did a lot more than that," he added.
Having spent days amidst the debris resulting from the quake, the rescuers say they are ready to respond again wherever their help is needed.