Northern Ireland’s K9 Search & Rescue team have been deployed to the earthquake disaster zone in Turkey.
The dogs and professionals, who assisted during the Creeslough tragedy, are flying out tomorrow to join the search for survivors following Monday’s 7.8 magnitude quake.
The death toll from the disaster is now 17,000, but it’s feared that many more survivors are buried under rubble across southern Turkey and northern Syria.
Bangor-based charity K9 Search and Rescue will send personnel and two dogs this weekend.
Charity Founder Ryan Gray says they have been preparing for the deployment since they heard the news of the earthquake on Monday.
“This is what we train for. The dogs we are sending are USAR dogs (Urban Search and Rescue) and specialise in detecting people in collapsed building structures. We are privileged to be asked to help in the rescue of survivors and hope we can reunite families with their loved ones. We will certainly do our very best while there.”
Search dogs Max and Delta, both black Labradors have been involved in recent high profile searches in Creeslough and although this most recent call is on a much larger scale, Ryan knows that their highly trained dogs are perfectly suited to help.
“We will fly to Turkey on Friday with the dogs via Dublin airport but really have no idea of the scale of devastation we will face upon arrival. We will get straight to work, knowing this search and rescue mission is time sensitive and every minute that passes can be the difference between life and death.”
“Being a self funded charity we would encourage local people to support our efforts which will allow us to stay as long as it takes to complete this search and rescue. We would be grateful of any support in the coming days and weeks.”
Donations can be made to:
The team will be embedded with Turkish Search and Rescue Team ANDA Arama Kurtarma, and will join teams from Evolsar in the Search and Rescue operation.
The Search And Rescue Dog Association – SARDA Ireland North, which also assisted at Creeslough, remains on standby to assist in Turkey if requested.