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Sign of life detected in Beirut rubble a month after blast

Beirut

BEIRUT – Chilean rescue workers and Lebanese civil defence volunteers have resumed their precarious search for a possible survivor of the Beirut port blast after a sign of life was detected under the rubble.

The search, supported by Chilean volunteers who are part of a Mexican rescue non-profit named “Los Topos”, was under way on Friday as residents stood by silently. Journalists were asked to remain silent and switch off their phones to enable the use of scanning equipment.

The Lebanese volunteers and the Chilean team, which arrived in Lebanon four days ago, were removing rubble with their hands amid fears that mechanical equipment could cause a total collapse of the building in question.

However, a crane was brought to the area overnight to remove some larger blocks of cement.

“We are hoping for a miracle,” a woman who lives in the Gemmayze neighbourhood told dpa.

On August 4, a massive blast ripped through Beirut’s port, killing at least 190 people and injuring another 6 000. Seven people are still unaccounted for, according to the Health Ministry.

Lebanese broadcaster MTV said the rescue workers had detected a sign of life again on Friday, but that it was weaker than the previous day.

A sniffer dog named Flash – brought to Beirut by the Chilean rescuers – was the first to respond to a scent at the site of a collapsed building a day earlier. He was still on standby on the scene.

“We hope they can rescue a soul from under this rubble,” another woman said at the scene.

“The team is working slowly and they are almost 80 centimetres from the targeted area,” a civil defence volunteer said.

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