MOSCOW • A baby boy has been found alive after 35 hours spent in freezing cold in the rubble of a Russian apartment block that partially collapsed in an explosion, emergency officials reported yesterday, calling it a miracle.
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 on Monday, killing at least seven people, with 36 people still missing.
Video footage from the local emergency ministry showed a rescue worker removing the baby, who was wearing pink socks, and putting a blanket around the infant before running towards an ambulance.
The current temperature in Magnitogorsk is minus 17 deg C.
The fact that the 11-month-old baby, diagnosed with serious freezer burn and a closed-head injury, was lying in his bed and wrapped up in layers saved his life, Tass news agency reported, citing a regional emergency centre.
The baby was found when a rescuer heard him crying and "a large-scale operation was immediately organised", Interfax news agency reported, citing emergency officials.
It was difficult to retrieve the baby because of unstable debris, 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 fell from the eyes of the weather-beaten rescuers."
The boy's mother is alive and has already arrived at the hospital, Interfax added.
Rescuers had earlier been forced to halt the search for missing people in the rubble as the building risked crumbling further, officials said yesterday.
Regional Governor Boris Dubrovsky has announced a day of mourning for today.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE