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Beirut explosion: Search resumes for possible survivor after signs of life detected in rubble

Rescuers have resumed their search after detecting signs of life in the rubble of a building that collapsed following a huge explosion in Beirut last month.

The search began on Thursday afternoon after a sniffer dog detected something in rubble in the Gemmayze area of the Lebanese capital.

Audio detection equipment detected a pulse of 18 to 19 beats per minutes, sparking hope there might be life.

However, on Friday morning, it was reported the signal had decreased to seven.

Image:
The collapsed building is still strewn with rubble after the deadly explosion


Beirut



Sky reporter: Teams continue search for potential survivors

Rescuers say it suggests someone could be alive or in a coma – or it could just be an object emitting a signal.

Thermal imaging and scanning equipment have also been used and teams today continued to remove debris, digging with their hands and shovels – careful to protect any survivors.

They say they are now close to the target area, only metres, possibly centimetres, away.



Rescue crews think there may be signs of life under rubble in Beirut



3 September: ‘Signs of life’ detected under Beirut rubble

Civil defence worker Youssef Malah said: “Ninety-nine percent there isn’t anything, but even if there is less than 1% hope, we should keep on looking.”

But Chilean volunteer Francesco Lermonda said their equipment signals human life, not animals, and though rare it is not unheard of for someone to survive under rubble for a month.

Blast site in Beirut
Image:
The blast is one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions ever recorded

There have also been mixed messages from local media and teams on the ground, with suggestions there could even be two bodies under the rubble.

The search – by a Chilean team and Lebanese civil defence volunteers – was briefly halted on Thursday due to concerns about the unstable structure.

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The area was inspected by the army following fears a wall might collapse and two cranes were bought so it could be safely removed.

It comes a month after almost 3,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate set off a blast that tore through Beirut, considered one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions ever recorded.

It killed at least 190 people, injured around 6,000, and caused damage to thousands of homes.

Days after the 4 August blast, more than 20 containers of the chemical compound were found at the port and moved to safe locations.

On Thursday, the army said it had found another 4.35 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in four containers near the port, which are being investigated.

A total of 25 people have being detained over the explosion, the majority either port or customs officials.

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