‘IT CAN BE VERY SAD TO SEE THEM’
SCDF ended up rescuing these two victims and retrieving another four bodies within 10 days before returning to Singapore to a hero’s welcome on Feb 18.
While the officers got to talk to their loved ones in Türkiye, Staff Sergeant Tamimi said they only learnt of his successful rescue when they were back in Singapore and spoke to Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam at the airport.
“My dad and relatives were worried at first (when I was deployed) but they were very supportive,” Staff Sergeant Tamimi added.
He also contracted a high fever on the seventh day of the trip but fortunately recovered almost immediately.
Warrant Officer 1 Fendilato, a single father of four boys and a 15-year DART veteran, said his children were “very excited”.
“I told my parents … They’re used to it already,” he added. The 44-year-old was deployed for rescue efforts overseas in 2011 and 2015.
When asked what the most memorable moment was for them, Lieutenant Rashid said he was thankful for the Turkish people’s hospitality.
“They tried to make our lives easier over there,” he added. “They tried to make us feel comfortable, even though we know they are suffering, they helped us with food. The advance team, we got lodging from them – they spared us a room to rest.”
Lieutenant Rashid also recounted seeing “grown men crying by the roadside while looking at the rubble”.
He said: “If it was me, I would be very hopeful that my relatives would be the ones found next.
“So it can be very sad to see them, tears in their eyes … I (have) pity for them,” he added, choking up.
The Türkiye-Syria quake has killed more than 50,000 people and is among the worst in the last century.