Search for survivor continues a month after Beirut explosion

By Helene Fung

Thousands gathered near the wreckage of Beirut Port for a moment of silence, to commemorate the one month anniversary of the deadly blast when 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded, killing 191 people and injuring thousands.

A white rose was laid for each of those killed, and 5,000 candles lit to remember the injured. Then it was a symphony of tribute: military gunshot salute, church bells, mosque prayer calls and ambulances all turned on their sirens simultaneously.

Just a day ago, rescue workers, with the aid of a rescue dog, detected something in the rubble of a building that collapsed in the blast. Audio detection equipment found a pulse of 18 to 19 beats per minute at a depth of 3 metres under the rubble, raising hope that it was the slow breathing of a survivor.

Chilean volunteer rescuer Francesco Lermonda told reporters that their equipment identifies breathing and heartbeat from humans rather than animals, so the signal should be sign of a human. Mr Lermonda however added that it was too soon to know if anyone was “alive or dead” under the debris.

While the probability of a survivor being found a month after the blast was slim, crowds gathered on the search site, hoping for a miracle.

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