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'Pulse' raises hope of survivor one month after Beirut blast

A sniffer dog used by Chilean rescuers on Wednesday night responded to a scent from the site of a collapsed building.

Chilean rescuers in Beirut, Lebanon.
Chilean rescuers in Beirut, Lebanon.
Image: Hussein Malla

RESCUE WORKERS DUG through rubble in a wrecked district of Lebanon’s capital yesterday in search of possible survivors from a mega-blast at the adjacent port one month ago, after scanners detected a pulse.

A sniffer dog used by Chilean rescuers on Wednesday night responded to a scent from the site of a collapsed building in the Gemmayzeh area, the city’s governor Marwan Abboud told reporters at the scene. 

“There could be survivors,” he said, explaining that scanners had detected a pulse, however faint the hope of finding anyone alive more than four weeks after the explosion.

“We hope someone will make it out alive,” Abboud said.

Michel al-Mur of the Beirut fire department also said a pulse was detected about two metres below the rubble. 

“One person, according to the [thermal] camera, still has a pulse,” Mur said.

The building has completely collapsed as a result of the blast that killed 191 people, wounded more than 6,500 others and destroyed swathes of Beirut. 

lebanon-explosion Chilean rescuers pat a rescue dog after searching through rubble in Beirut. Source: AP/PA Images

Seven people are still missing, according to the Lebanese army.

Chilean rescuers, Lebanese civil defence teams and Beirut fire department workers were excavating the site. 

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Speaking to local broadcaster LBCI, a rescue worker said scanners had picked up a respiratory rate of “19 breaths a minute”. 

Today marks one month since the blast that authorities say was caused by a shipment of ammonium nitrate left to languish for years at Beirut’s port.

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