In the Turkish town of Antakya devastated by the earthquake, Tamas Mezosi and his search and rescue dog Trafi worked hard to find survivors. The Hungarian news outlet index.hu interviewed Tamas Mezosi after their return to Hungary. Tamas is the director
of Barathegyi Guide Dog School for the Blind. In this interview Tamas explained that the rescue operation itself was quite risky: some dogs were unfortunately lost while trying to look for survivors under the rubble.
Tamas’s search and rescue dog Trafi used his canine ‘sixth sense’ during the rescue operations which might have saved our lives, Tamas added.
Trafi always does what I ask him to do. When I asked him to go down a narrow gap in the rubble, he started crawling and could smell that there was someone underneath it. He suddenly returned to my feet and refused to leave again. I asked him to search again but he refused. By that time, the Turkish fire fighters were shouting outside to leave the building because it was going to collapse! A horrible aftershock shook the ground and the building came tumbling down. Trafi could probably sense that this was gonna happen and saved our lives. In a search and rescue operation one needs to be not only brave and very careful as well.
The Hungarian rescue team saved 11 people in Turkey. Trafi and Tamas saved 3 lives, but we are not sure yet if they are all going to make it. After the 24 hours, the chances of finding more survivors is diminishing by the hour. 95% of survivors are rescued with the first 24 hours.
Trafi is like a dog who can do pentathlon
Trafi is our token guide dog at the Guide Dog School. If somebody comes to visit, we use Trafi to demonstrate what a guide dog can do. But this is just his hobby. Trafi is one of Hungary’s top search and rescue dogs, who can carry out tracking, airscent and disaster searches.
“Trafi is a bit like a pentathlon athlete” -said Tamas. “There are athletes who run, ride a horse or swim faster than the pentathlonist, but nobody can do all five so well as him. Trafi is the same: there might be dogs who are better at tracking, following a scent or digging up a survivor, but Trafi can do all three really well.”
In the aftermath of the disaster
The conditions were close to hellish in Turkey after the earthquake. Tamas was interviewed by Hungarian TV channel RTL talking about the smell of decomposing bodies and the father who lost his child, yet was unable to let go. The 7 minute film captures some of the heartbreaking moments of the rescue operation. You can watch it here: VIDEO
The rescue teams were greeted by cheers and clapping at the Budapest Airport. You can watch the video of Tamas and Trafi’s return here: VIDEO
We would like thank all members of the rescue teams for their hard work!