Rescue teams in Lebanon on Thursday detected signs of life underneath the rubble of a building that collapsed after a massive explosion in Beirut on August 4, Reuters reported. The blast ripped through the city killing about 190 people and injuring more than 6,000. The rescue operation is still underway.
A rescue dog detected movement under a destroyed building in Gemmayze area of Beirut, one of the worst affected by last month’s explosion. “These [signs of breathing and pulse] along with the temperature sensor means there is a possibility of life,” Eddy Bitar, a local non-governmental organisation worker, told reporters at the scene.
Bitar said they detected 18 breath cycles per minute emanating from under the rubble using the sensor, according to Al Jazeera. “We are trying to keep hopes low,” he added. “If someone is found, it would be a miracle.”
Bitar said the owner of the building maintained that there was no one inside. However, number of people said they had alerted security forces of the smell of decomposition emanating from the building after the blast, but they did not search under the rubble.
Topos Chile, a rescue NGO, has been visiting streets in Beirut as part of a mission to secure buildings before the reconstruction phase when one of their search dogs ran towards a building and alerted them of human presence.
Lebanese activist Bissan Fakih tweeted: “That sniffer dog with the Chilean rescue team has done more for us since the Beirut explosion than the entire ruling class.”
Authorities said the explosion was caused by about 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stacked in unsafe conditions in a port warehouse for years.