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Possible heartbeat detected under rubble in Beirut

Rescue teams in Beirut have detected what they believe may be a human heartbeat under a destroyed building, a month after the deadly explosion.At least 190 people died last month when 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in a port warehouse caused an explosion, turning much of the city into rubble.Hopes were raised that there may…

Rescue teams in Beirut have detected what they believe may be a human heartbeat under a destroyed building, a month after the deadly explosion.

At least 190 people died last month when 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in a port warehouse caused an explosion, turning much of the city into rubble.

Hopes were raised that there may be another survivor under the rubble after a sniffer dog detected something under a collapsed building that had already been searched.

Special audio equipment used by Chilean rescuers then picked up a possible heartbeat of 18 to 19 beats per minute.

Thermal imaging taken under the wreckage has shown two bodies, a larger one and a smaller one.

One of the rescuers, Edward Bitar, told reporters at the scene that the possible heartbeat could belong to “a small child or a small person”.

“These (signs) along with the temperature sensor means there is a possibility of life.”

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Rescuers had been carefully digging through the wreckage but were order by army officers to stop for the night after the building became unstable.

The decision to stop the search until the morning sparked fury from bystanders, with many vowing to search themselves and shouting “That breath is the last breath we have”, according to local reports.

After protest erupted it was announced that the search would resume in half an hour while more rescuers and equipment were brought in.

More than 300,000 people were left homeless following the August 4 blast, with the damage to the city estimated to cost billions of dollars to repair.

One of the many victims of the deadly explosion was an Australian boy who was just two years old.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) confirmed last month that Isaac Oehlers died in the blast, which claimed at least 191 other lives.

“We are heartbroken by the sudden and tragic loss of our beautiful boy following the disaster in Beirut. Isaac was two and will be deeply missed by family and friends,” the family said in a statement released by DFAT.

“The family would like to thank everyone who has offered comfort and support to us, and would like to express our condolences to everyone in Lebanon who is suffering from this devastating tragedy.”

The explosion tore down buildings, flattened houses, ripped balconies from apartments, tossed cars from the nearby motorway, and sent a huge plume of smoke billowing across the city.

At the time, Beirut City Governor Marwan Aboud said the city was dealing with a “national disaster akin to Hiroshima’’.

Pictures and videos quickly started to emerge from the scene, showing the horrific impact of the explosion.

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