Turkish FM calls Austrian citizen who rescued Turkish neighbors
“I talked with their neighbor Alexander Eisenmann, who saved our citizens, Ayşe and Salih Karaarslan, during the flood disaster in Salzburg, Austria. I would like to thank him for his courage and humanity in this period of increasing xenophobia and anti-Islamism,” he tweeted on July 18.
A Turkish-Austrian couple last week was rescued by their next-door neighbor from the devastating floods caused by heavy downpours in parts of Europe.
The floods in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria wreaked great havoc, killing close to 100 so far, with over 1,300 people still missing.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Alexander Eisenmann said that on that day his son called him and said two people were caught in the floodwaters and that he immediately got into the water and tried to help the Karaaslan couple as much as he could, battling the force of the floodwaters.
Eisenmann said that at first, in the heat of the moment, he couldn’t recognize the people who were in danger but then later realized that they were his next-door neighbors.
“Of course, it didn’t matter to me who they were. I entered the water with determination to help them, no matter the risk,” Eisenmann told Anadolu Agency.
Eisemann also said he appreciated the unexpected phone call he got later from the Turkish foreign minister.
“I was very happy that he called me,” Eisenmann said.
“He was very sincere, thanked me, and offered help.”
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Salih and Ayşe Karaaslan said that their neighbor, Eisenmann, rescued them from the flood in the historic town of Hallein in the state of Salzburg, located on the border with Germany.
Salih Karaaslan and his wife own a restaurant in Hallein, and last week they saw floodwaters rising suddenly around the restaurant to a height of one and a half meters (4.9 feet).
He said that he tried to move his wife out of the restaurant, but she was shocked by the force of the floodwaters and stood frozen in one place.
“While we were waiting at the corner of the restaurant, we called the firefighters and police, but no one answered. I had to decide whether to cross the street or drown,” he recounted.
“We didn’t have another chance. If we had stood there, the water probably would have swept us away, and we would have drowned,” he said.