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Virginia Task Force 1 helps in search efforts after earthquake

The team arrived in Turkey Wednesday and got straight to work.

ADIYAMAN, Türkiye — The Virginia Task Force 1 team, which is based in Fairfax County, has now been in Turkey for several days. 

VATF-1 members have been hard at work alongside a team from L.A. and local search and rescue crews. The two teams are the only two resources utilized by USAID for international response. 

WUSA9 checked in with the team Friday afternoon. 

"It's been a whirlwind of a trip," said K9 Search Specialist Paul Serzan.

He told WUSA9 once they arrived on Wednesday, they got to work setting up base operations. But, quickly found themselves hitting the ground running.

"Word came down that there were sites that were priority for us. Myself and Vader were the first dog team to go out to those sites," said Serzan.

We first introduced you to Vader Monday night, as the team was preparing to leave Fairfax County and head to Turkey.

This is Vader's first mission. "He did very very well. As soon as he saw a rubble pile he understood what his job was and went to work," said Serzan.

He told WUSA9 that Vader has already helped find signs of life in the rubble.

"We searched one rubble pile and Vader did alert to a possible live victim," said Serzan.

He said it's been a tough seeing so much heartbreak and devastation, but said the resiliency of the people who've been through so much is what keeps them going.

"We see a lot of people on these collapsed buildings using whatever tools that they can find, shovels, hammers, sticks to just look for their loved ones. Knowing they're giving there all , it hits your heart," he said.

Serzan said "people in this country are resilient it gives us hope, gives us drive to continue to do the work to help these people find their loved ones".

There's no timeline yet on when the team will return to the United States. 

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