An 11-month-old baby on Tuesday was pulled to safety more than 35 hours after a deadly building collapse in sub-freezing temperatures in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk.
The child’s father described the rescue as a “New Year’s miracle.”
Video from the scene shows workers carefully extricating little Ivan Fokin from the rubble, wrapping him in blankets and dashing from the scene of the 10-story apartment building in the industrial city 1,000 miles southeast of Moscow.
“During the ‘minute of silence’ when rescue workers stop to hear potential survivors, crying was heard underneath the debris,” said Boris Dubrovsky, the governor of Chelyabinsk Region.
Dubrovsky said the boy was saved because he was wrapped up warm in his crib. The child initially was described as a girl, possibly because he was found wearing pink socks.
“When we shouted ‘Quiet’ the child stopped crying, but when we shouted to the baby, ‘Where are you?’ the infant responded,” Petr Gritsenko, who led one of the rescue teams, told the media. “Once we were sure, we started digging.”
Russia’s RT online news service said Ivan suffered head trauma and serious frostbite on extremities, but described his prognosis as “positive.” He was scheduled to be flown to a Moscow children’s hospital.
Ivan’s father, Yevgeny Fokin, told RT his bed was destroyed in the blast and that he would have died had he not been working a night shift. Vanya’s mother, Olga, managed to escape with Vanya’s older brother when the collapse occurred. But she told RT she couldn’t get to the infant and wasn’t sure he was alive.
Nine bodies had been pulled from the wreckage, blamed on a natural gas explosion. Five people were reported injured. Dozens of people evacuated the building safely, but dozens of others remained unaccounted for.
Hopes of finding survivors were dimming as workers struggled to stabilize the work area. The area was blasted with hot-air cannons to combat temperatures that dipped to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.