Family saved after pilot reads ‘Help’ written on snow

Family saved after pilot reads ‘Help’ written on snow

Fevzi Kızılkoyun- KAHRAMANMARAŞ
Family saved after pilot reads ‘Help’ written on snow

A helicopter pilot carrying aid to the quake zone took a risk when he saw “Yardim Et” (‘Help’ in English) written in block letters on the snow and landed on a slope, saving an elderly couple and two children, who were trapped in their village house for three days after the earthquakes struck Türkiye’s south.

In the Dulkadiroğlu district of Kahramanmaraş, a family of four was stranded in their house in the village for three days due to the devastating quakes, with no electricity and no cell phone reception, while the roads were blocked by snow.

They wrote “YARDIM ET” in block letters on the snow with their feet in order to attract the attention of helicopters bringing aid to rural areas.

The pilot of the Gendarmerie helicopter, Aytekin Çakırerk, stated that first he noticed the words on the snow.

“It was very difficult to reach rural areas due to weather conditions. On one of my returns from a village, I saw the words ‘YARDIM ET’ written in large letters on the snow. There was no one around, so I went back and flew low again,” Çakırerk said about the incident.

He stated that a little further away from the sign, there were a couple of houses in the valley, and people were lighting a fire and signaling the helicopter with smoke.

“When I got a little closer, an old man was waving a pennant showing a Turkish flag.”

According to Çakırkerk, they took a risky landing on the slope. When they landed, they met an elderly couple and two children in desperate need of help.

The crew took their list of needs and went to Kahramanmaraş. Within half an hour, they returned with the aid materials.

“Their house was intact, but they were devastated. I will never forget that day for the rest of my life. People writing ‘Help’ on the ground was a thing I have only witnessed in movies. This was the first time I encountered such an event,” Çakırerk added.