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Turkey Quake Death Toll at 129

June 29, 1998

CEYHAN, Turkey (AP) _ A 45-year-old woman was found alive under mountains of rubble today, two days after an earthquake killed at least 129 people in southern Turkey.

Her rescue raised hope that other survivors could be found _ hope that was tempered by today’s discovery of 17 more bodies under collapsed buildings in downtown Ceyhan.

Hatice Eker was trapped under the same building where rescuers pulled out an 11-year-old boy alive on Sunday.

```I am fine but I feel pain in my feet,‴ Eker was quoted as saying by her husband, Ziya Eker, who joined the rescue workers in trying to extract her.

Eker, a 45-year-old retired teacher, was pinned by the debris along with her 20-year-old daughter, whose fate remained unknown.

``I am hopeful that she is alive too,″ Ziya Eker told The Associated Press.

Prior to her discovery, relatives of the missing pleaded with rescue teams to keep up the search. ``I want my nephew’s body,″ shouted Ismail Karayaka, as he was pushed back by soldiers surrounding the rescue sites.

Ceyhan and the city of Adana, 250 miles south of Ankara, the capital, were the hardest hit by Saturday’s 6.2 magnitude quake.

Up to 1,500 people were injured, with 300 people now being treated in makeshift outdoor treatment centers set up by hospitals, according to the crisis center in Adana.

``I was riding my bicycle when the quake hit. I fell on the ground and bricks began to fall over me,″ said Sevilay Zenger, an 11-year-old girl lying in a tent on the grounds of Adana’s Balcali hospital.

Among those killed were 62 people in Ceyhan and 44 in Adana, where most victims were living in poorly built houses in slum districts. Other victims came from nearby villages.

Panicked residents slept outside for the last two nights as up to 70 aftershocks kept them away from their homes.

``I want my bed,″ cried Olgay Tan, 38, lying on a blanket in a park.

But her husband, Ahmet, was determined to be safe. ``I am terribly scared,″ he said. ``I can’t enter my home without thinking of an imminent quake.″

Firefighter Ekrem Dogdu said two dozen people may still be trapped under the heaps of building debris in Ceyhan. Local authorities said they would launch an investigation into contractors whose buildings had collapsed.

Wealthy Turkish businessman Sakip Sabanci, who comes from Adana, promised roughly $1 million for the disaster-stricken region. The Sabanci family is one of the richest in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

The Incirlik air base, at the outskirts of Adana, is used by U.S. and British jets that patrol a no-fly zone over northern Iraq. Staff Sgt. Joel Langton of the U.S. Air Force said 35 people affiliated with the base suffered mild bruises and cuts from the quake. He did not give their nationalities.

The quake jostled a wide region from the Mediterranean coast of Turkey to the island of Cyprus.

Much of Turkey sits atop the Anatolian fault, and earthquakes occur frequently.

Update hourly