NEWS
02/01/2019 10:35 GMT

Baby Boy Pulled Alive From Freezing Rubble 35 Hours After Russian Gas Blast

Rescuers called it "a miracle".

An 11-month-old baby boy has been found alive after 35 hours spent in freezing cold in the rubble of a Russian apartment block that partially collapsed in an explosion.

The blast, thought to have been caused by a gas leak, damaged 48 apartments in a 10-story building in the industrial city of Magnitogorsk on Monday, killing at least seven people with 36 people remaining missing.

Video footage from the local emergency ministry showed a rescuer worker lifting baby Ivan Fokin, who was dressed in pink socks, and putting a blanket around him before running towards an ambulance.

The current temperature in the city of Magnitogorsk, home to one of Russia’s largest steel plants in the Urals some 1,700 km (1,050 miles) east of Moscow, is -17 Celsius (1.4 Fahrenheit).

TASS via Getty Images
Baby Ivan Fokin was pulled after 35 hours in freezing rubble 

The fact that Ivan, who has been diagnosed with a serious freezer burn and a closed-head injury, was lying in his bed and was wrapped up in layers saved his life, TASS news agency reported.

He was found when a rescuer heard him crying and “a large-scale operation was immediately organised,” Interfax news agency reported. His removal was difficult because of unstable debris which posed risks for rescuers.

“Hundreds of people were waiting for the appearance of the injured child from under the rubble like a miracle. And the miracle happened...” officials were quoted as saying by Interfax. “Tears drew in the eyes of the weatherbeaten rescuers.”

The boy’s mother is alive and has already arrived to the hospital, Interfax added.

The blast tore through the building in the city of Magnitogorsk, home of one of Russia’s largest steel plants, early on Monday morning, a public holiday in Russia, when many residents were asleep. Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said on Monday that the chances of finding survivors were fading.

There have been several similar incidents in the country in recent years due to ageing infrastructure and poor safety regulations about gas usage.