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Turkish rescuers pull elderly man from earthquake rubble

Aegean Sea quake kills 69 people in Turkey and Greece
An earthquake survivor embraces a Turkish rescue worker (Reuters)

A 70-year-old man was pulled from the remains of a destroyed building to an applauding crowd on Sunday as Turkish rescuers went into their third day searching for victims of an earthquake that killed 69 people and injured almost 1,000. Nearly 200 people were in hospital according to authorities. 

Rescuers on Sunday were working through the eight remaining destroyed buildings in coastal Izmir, where a rescuer at one site told AFP they believed there could be around 10 survivors.  

Survivors from some of the 300 damaged buildings spent the night outside in thousands of tents sent up the Turkish authorities. They have been told not to return to their homes. 

earthquake survivors camp outside
Earthquake survivors camped outside through the night (Reuters)

According to Turkish officials, the 7.0 earthquake killed 67 people and injured 885 on Turkey's western coast. Another two were killed on the Greek island of Samos. 

Authorities in the town of Bayrakli set up tents in open spaces near damaged buildings and provided soup and water to frightened survivors waiting through the night for news of relatives, AFP reported.

A teacher, whose sister and her two children were thought to be underneath the rubble of a collapsed building was too upset to speak to reporters.

'We will wait all night. God willing they will come out alive'

- Azize Akkoyun, resident

"We haven't heard any news yet. We're just here. God willing they will be rescued safely," Seyfi Ozsoy said, after coming from the central province of Afyonkarahisar to provide moral support to the waiting family.

"We're hopeful despite everything," another family friend, Salih Kose, said.

"We will wait all night. God willing they will come out alive," resident Azize Akkoyun told AFP.

The earthquake struck at around 2.50pm on Friday and was felt along Turkey's Aegean coast and the northwestern Marmara region, media said.

The epicentre of the earthquake was reported as 17km outside of the town of Seferihisar, in the Aegean sea.

Images on social media showed water rushing through the streets of Izmir from an apparent sea surge.

A Middle East Eye correspondent in Izmir said after the quake: "The buildings shook for around 15 seconds.

"Most people ran out on to the streets and could be seen phoning their families once the shaking had ended.

"Many people are still waiting outside in the streets and parks rather than returning to their homes for fear of aftershocks."

The leaders of Turkey and Greece - caught up in a bitter dispute over exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean - spoke by phone late on Friday.

In a rare show of warmth between the two countries, the leaders exchanged solidarity messages on Twitter. 

Earthquakes are a common occurrence in Turkey; nearly 17,000 people died in a quake in the western city of Izmit in 1999.