L.A. rescuers help pull teen from rubble of Turkey earthquake

A group of rescue workers caries a stretcher a person wrapped in an emergency blanket.
A 17-year-old boy is rescued in Hatay, Turkey.
(Courtesy of Brad Lyon)

A 17-year-old boy was pulled from the rubble in Hatay, Turkey, on Monday after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastated Turkey and Syria last week, according to officials, and an L.A.-based search-and-rescue volunteer told The Times about his part in it.

Mike Leum, an assistant director for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, tweeted out the news, saying the teenager was “uninjured and talking.”

For the record:

11:12 p.m. Feb. 13, 2023An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Mike Leum was part of a Los Angeles County Fire Department rescue team in Turkey.

Leum told The Times that he and fellow volunteers were “going to get some sleep after a long (but great) day.”


In the days since the magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey, search-and-rescue teams, including one from Los Angeles County, have been a ubiquitous presence.

Feb. 12, 2023

A separate L.A. County team flew to Turkey last week to assist with earthquake relief efforts. By Wednesday morning, the team had arrived in the city of Adiyaman to begin rescue work. That team was sent by the U.S. Agency for International Development along with another from Virginia in response to the destructive earthquake and aftershocks.

The death toll from the Feb. 6 earthquake is above 35,000.

Officials have said the search for survivors is likely near its end.

The catastrophic magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Turkey a week ago should be a warning to Californians.

Feb. 13, 2023

A crew wrested a 4-year-old girl from rubble in hard-hit Adiyaman, seven days after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck. The rescuers who retrieved the girl were among thousands of local and overseas teams, including Turkish coal miners and experts aided by sniffer dogs and thermal cameras, who scoured pulverized apartment blocks for signs of life.

Seismologists have been warning Californians for years about the dangers of the type of massive quake that devastated Turkey and Syria. “There will be 7.8s in our future. Absolutely. We have the faults, we’ve seen it in the past, it will happen again,” seismologist Lucy Jones, a research associate at Caltech, said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report