Russian rescue workers found an 11-month-old baby boy alive nearly 36 hours after an apartment building collapsed and buried the boy in rubble in sub-freezing temperatures, reports say.
An apparent gas leak caused the building to collapse in Magnitogorsk on Monday, killing at least nine people and leaving dozens unaccounted for, according to the Associated Press. Rescuers dug through the wreckage for more than a day before finding the baby, Ivan Fokin, alive in what the boy’s father called “a New Year’s miracle.”
“During the ‘minute of silence’ when rescue workers stop to hear potential survivors, crying was heard underneath the debris,” Boris Dubrovsky, the governor of Chelyabinsk Region, said, according to USA Today.
Petr Gritsenko, who led one of the rescue teams, told local media that the baby’s cries grew louder.
“When we shouted ‘Quiet’ the child stopped crying, but when we shouted to the baby, ‘Where are you?’ the infant responded,” Gritsenko said, according to USA Today. “Once we were sure, we started digging.”
Authorities said the baby was in extremely serious condition with a head injury, fractures, hypothermia and frostbite due to the -4 degree weather, according to the AP. He was flown to Moscow and later listed in stable condition, authorities said.
Fokin’s mother, Olga Fokina, escaped the collapse with her 3-year-old son on Monday and his father was at work, according to the AP, which cited Russian news reports.
“I was sleeping on the couch with my older son, hugging him and the young one was sleeping in his baby bed,” Olga reportedly said on Russian TV.
“I and the older one fell down and quickly got out and I didn’t know what happened to the baby bed afterward.”
Video footage of the rescue showed workers gently pulling the baby from the wreckage before rushing to get the boy treatment. Authorities said the boy survived because he was wrapped up warm in his crib.