Scottish firefighters claim they will never forget witnessing "biblical destruction" during the rescue operations following the Turkey earthquake.
A 77-person UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) team that included John Aitchison, Steven Adams, Tony Armstrong, and Keith Gauld was sent out.
On the 10-day mission, they claimed to have found hope despite the destruction.
In southern Turkey and northern Syria, it has been confirmed that over 44,000 people have died.
The firefighters and staff on the UKISAR team came from 14 different fire and rescue services.
We'll never forget the complete carnage and destruction, according to Mr. Aitchison.
"I'm still figuring that out. As we proceed, the team will need a lot of time to think about that. " .
At the Portlethen Training Center, Mr. Aitchison serves as a watch commander.
Steven Adams, the crew commander, is based at the MacAlpine Road fire station in Dundee, while Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Gauld, the firefighters, are based at the North Anderson Drive fire station in Aberdeen.
The city of Kahramanmaras was where the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck on February 6 had its epicenter.
Bit by bit, we could see things getting worse as we got closer to the city center, according to Mr. Aitchison. Like being on a movie set,
"Multi-story buildings appeared to have been picked up and dropped again on the ground. Some of the structures were leaning to one side or the other.
People were crying and pleading with us to go and assist them. The possibility of actual causalities had to be our main concern. We had to continue on. Leaving people who were sobbing for their loved ones was extremely difficult for the entire team.
"We could only concentrate on saving live victims, which was very challenging for us. However, we came away with the positive that we rescued eight people in the team by ourselves, and the dog also picked up on another three people that other teams later rescued. ".
Steven Adams described the city's atmosphere as one of "hope and desperation.".
They were seeking any help they could get in order to find their family members, the man said. It was our responsibility to help find suitable work locations for live casualties.
They expressed their gratitude for our assistance at a time of devastation and when they believed there was no hope left.
"It's a huge honor. I felt a tremendous amount of accountability. One cannot undervalue the bravery and dedication displayed by all 77 members of the staff. ".
Mr. Armstrong admitted that his anxiety about their endeavor was high.
He remarked that the locals "were very nice people and you could understand their heartache.".
"My heart is with all of the people who have been harmed by the earthquakes. Some people are completely destitute. They burned furniture to stay warm at night while they slept in their cars or at bus stops. " .
"My initial impressions were the noise," Mr. Gauld continued. Ambulances were making rounds of the city. how extensive the damage was. All building types collapse. The scale, which showed how badly or completely every building was damaged, was really what got me.
"The courage and strength that the Turkish people exhibited are always on my mind. You consider yourself very fortunate to have a home and family to return to, and I do think about their difficulties, but also about how they handled them and demonstrated their independence. " .
In the past, Mr. Aitchison and Mr. Adams participated in search and rescue operations.
They were sent as a part of a team that was sent to Nepal in 2015 after an earthquake that occurred close to Kathmandu.
The other two firefighters were participating in their first ISAR operation.
They resided in a temporary tent village in Hatay while they were in Turkey.
To assist those who are still without homes, the tents will be left as part of a humanitarian aid effort.
Scotland's UKISAR team manager is Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Bruce Farquharson.
He said, "We're incredibly proud of the team.
They quickly departed from Scotland, put their lives on hold, and traveled to Turkey in appalling conditions to assist.
"For this reason, the team acts as they do. to save lives by employing their knowledge, abilities, and training. It makes us feel incredibly proud and provides us with solid motivation to keep doing what we're doing.