Chinese firefighters have rescued a newborn boy from a sewer pipe below a squat toilet, sawing out an L-shaped section and then delicately dismantling it to free the cocooned baby, who greeted the rescuers with cries.
A tenant heard the baby’s sounds in the public restroom of a residential building in Zhejiang province in eastern China on Saturday and notified authorities, according to the state-run news site Zhejiang News.
A video of the two-hour rescue that followed was broadcast widely on Chinese news programs and websites late Monday and Tuesday.
The child — named Baby No. 59 from the number of his hospital incubator — was reported safe in a nearby hospital, and news of the rescue prompted an outpouring from strangers who came to the hospital with diapers, baby clothes, powdered milk and offers to adopt the child.
Police are treating the case as an attempted homicide, and are looking for the mother and anyone else involved in the incident.
The landlord of the building in Pujiang county told Zhejiang News that it was unlikely the birth took place in the toilet room because there was no evidence of blood and she was not aware of any recent pregnancies among her tenants.
UPDATE: The mother has been identified. From CNN:
The mother of a newborn rescued over the weekend from a toilet pipe in China “deeply regrets what she did,” police said Tuesday.
The infant, a baby boy, was saved Saturday in the Chinese city of Jinhua. He remains in the hospital, where he is reported to be in stable condition.
“Local police have found the mother. She deeply regrets what she did. Details of the case are still under investigation,” Jinhua police said on the social media website Weibo.
They posted images of the baby, showing him sleeping in an incubator and being attended to by various nurses.
Dramatic video of the infant’s rescue made global headlines and sparked sympathy.
According to police, one of the firefighters involved visited the baby and sent over clothes, formula powder and diapers.
Someone else sent milk bottles and formula, along with a note that read: “Don’t let the baby starve. Let’s pray,” they said.