Rescue workers pull 11-month-old boy alive from rubble of collapsed apartment building in Russia
Rescue workers found the baby after hearing crying from the rubble. (AP: Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations)
Rescuers have pulled an infant boy alive from the rubble of an apartment building, some 35 hours after a collapse that killed at least seven people and left dozens missing.
- The baby has survived in temperatures of minus 18 degrees Celcius
- Authorities said the fact that the infant was lying in his bed and wrapped up in layers saved his life
- The blast that caused the collapse damaged 48 apartments, killing at least seven people
They found the 11-month-old baby after hearing his cries amid the piles of debris.
The boy was seriously injured — he is currently diagnosed with a serious freezer burn and a closed-head injury — and his recovery prospects were unclear, but the boy’s mother is alive and has already arrived at the hospital.
Video footage from the local emergency ministry showed a rescue worker removing the baby dressed in pink socks and putting a blanket around him before he starts running towards an ambulance.
A section of the 10-storey building in the city of Magnitogorsk collapsed on Monday following an explosion believed to have been triggered by a natural gas leak.
The blast damaged 48 apartments, killing at least seven people with 36 people still missing.
The fact that the infant was lying in his bed and was wrapped up in layers saved his life, TASS news agency reported, citing a regional emergency centre.
“The child was saved because it was in a crib and wrapped warmly,” regional governor Boris Dubrovsky was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
Hopes of finding survivors were dimmed by the harsh cold temperatures of minus 18 degrees Celsius, with rescue teams about to call off the search when they heard the infant crying.
Rescue crews had temporarily halted their search while workers tried to remove or stabilise sections of the building in danger of collapse.
When a rescuer heard the baby’s cries “a large-scale operation was immediately organised”, Interfax news agency reported, citing emergency officials.
The infant’s removal was difficult because of unstable debris in the collapsed building which posed risks for rescuers.
“Hundreds of people were waiting for the appearance of the injured child from under the rubble like a miracle. And the miracle happened,” the officials were quoted as saying by Interfax.
“Tears drew in the eyes of the weatherbeaten rescuers.”
The blast, thought to have been caused by a gas leak, damaged 48 apartments in a 10-storey building in the industrial city of Magnitogorsk.
Five people were hospitalised with injuries from the collapse in the city about 1,400 kilometres southeast of Moscow, the emergency ministry said.
Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said on Monday that the chances of finding survivors were fading.
There have been several similar incidents in the country in recent years due to ageing infrastructure and poor safety regulations about gas usage.