'No signs of life' in rubble after three-day search for Beirut blast survivors: Rescue workers

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Sep 06, 2020, 08:00 AM(IST)

Rescue team members search through buildings damaged due to the massive explosion at Beirut''s port area in Gemmayze Photograph:( Reuters )

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Around 50 workers and volunteers, including a specialist team from Chile, had worked for three days to locate anyone after sensors on Thursday detected signs of breathing and heat.

Rescue workers on Saturday said that there was no longer hope of finding someone alive more than a month after a massive port explosion shattered Lebanon's capital. These workers have been digging through the rubble of a Beirut building for the third day. 

Around 50 workers and volunteers, including a specialist team from Chile, had worked for three days to locate anyone after sensors on Thursday detected signs of breathing and heat.

"Technically speaking, there are no signs of life," Francisco Lermanta, the head of volunteer rescue group Topos Chile, said in a news conference on Saturday evening, adding that rescuers had combed 95 per cent of the building.

According to Lermanta, signs of life in the rubble were detected in the past two days and breaths of fellow rescuers already inside the building picked up by their sensitive equipment. However, he said that now the workers will be focusing on clearing the rubble and finding remains.

"We never stop with even one percent of hope," Lermanta said, of finding a body. "We never stop until the job is done."

The explosion on August 4 obliterated part of the port and caused damage over a wide radius in the heart of the city. It killed about 190 people, injured 6,000 more

Officials blamed the blast on a huge stockpile of highly explosive material stored for years in unsafe conditions at the port.

Up to a quarter of a million people were left without homes fit to live in, officials said, after shockwaves smashed building facades, sucked furniture out into streets and shattered windows miles inland.

Residential districts of Gemmayze and Mar Mikhael were among the hardest hit as home to many old buildings that crumbled as the shockwave ripped through.

Work was slow, rescue workers said earlier in the day, as the badly damaged building was at risk of complete collapse.

"The building is really crumbling, it's scary and there's a lot of danger to the team," Abou Moussa said.

Workers used shovels and their hands to dig, while mechanical diggers and a crane lifted heavy debris. Scanning equipment was also used to create 3D images of the wrecked building.

(Inputs from Agency)

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