Rescuers on Saturday morning continued digging through the rubble of a building in Beirut after sensors detected possible signs of life, despite hopes of finding anyone fading.
“The search has been ongoing since the day before yesterday, but the chances (of finding someone) are very low”, the director of operations for the Lebanese Civil Defence, George Abou Moussa, told AFP. “We haven’t anything so far,” he added.
Walter Munoz, a Chilean rescue worker, told journalists on the ground that the hope of finding a survivor was 2%.
Rescue workers on Friday inched closer to a suspected survivor of the Beirut explosion, exactly a month after the blast tore through the Lebanese capital.
Suspicions that someone may be alive beneath the rubble of a collapsed building on Gemmayzeh’s Gouraud Street arose on Thursday when a dog belonging to a team of Chilean rescue volunteers sounded the alarm.
Subsequent tests concluded that a faint heartbeat possibly belonging to a small person or child could be detected in the rubble, which had been ignored by authorities for 29 days.
On Thursday night the Lebanese army attempted to pause the operation, citing concerns about the security of a wall, saying a crane was needed and couldn’t be sourced until 8am.
Middle East Eye reports “Outraged onlookers demanded work continue, however, with one, Melissa Fathalla, obtaining the necessary crane to keep the search going overnight. The heartbeat remained detectable on Friday morning, though was noticeably fainter rescue workers said, underlining the importance of every minute of the search. Fathalla, who has been hailed a hero, told Middle East Eye too much fuss was being made of her involvement in obtaining the crane. She and friends who are involved with local relief initiatives called an acquaintance specialised in cranes, who quickly brought one over.”
Six people are still recorded missing after the 4 August blast, which killed nearly 200 and wounded thousands more, leaving large areas of Beirut in ruins.
Middle East Eye / Reuters / Euronews