Monday 21 October 2019

Baby found in sewage pipe fell in accidentally, mother claims

Tom Phillips Shanghai

The mother of a Chinese baby boy who survived after becoming trapped in a sewage pipe has claimed she kept her pregnancy secret after the father refused to stand by her but insisted that the child had accidentally slipped into the lavatory.

The 22-year-old woman, who is from Zhejiang province in eastern China but has not been named, told police she realised she was carrying a baby three months into her pregnancy and had not told her parents.

She attempted to conceal her pregnancy by using loose-fitting clothes and confronted the baby's father but he rejected her appeals for help, the state-run Zhejiang News website reported.

With insufficient money for an abortion, the mother said she had been forced to deliver the baby secretly last Saturday inside a lavatory at her home in the city of Jinhua.

The baby had accidentally slipped down the lavatory, she reportedly claimed.

CHARGES

Police are not convinced by that version of events. It is not clear what charges, if any, the woman will face.

A police official warned yesterday that the public outcry over the case had left the mother in emotional tatters. "It will not help anyone if the mother becomes so depressed that she ends up committing suicide," said the official, who gave his name as Mr Fang.

Police are still looking for the father, who is reported to have refused to acknowledge paternity.

The fireman who led the rescue said yesterday he had feared the trapped baby would die. Zheng Yuzheng (31) said that on reaching a fourth-floor lavatory, he had "heard noises coming from inside [a pipe] . . . [that] sounded like a baby crying".

His team eventually managed to remove a portion of piping with the two-day-old baby still cocooned inside. But there were no celebrations.

"When we took out the pipe, the ambulance workers and doctors were already waiting there and I showed them the pipe and asked whether the boy might be able to survive," he said. "The doctor said, 'Probably not'. I saw his little feet were turning purple and I thought to myself that he wouldn't make it. We almost gave up."

Paramedics rushed the 6lb boy – named Baby 59 after the number of his incubator in which he was treated – to a nearby hospital and began the painstaking task of extricating him using a small handsaw.

Almost two hours after the emergency call, the baby was freed.

"I felt huge relief and really happy. We had saved this newborn baby's life," said Mr Zheng. "[But] this is our job. I didn't think too much at the time about how the baby ended up in there. But he is a really strong-willed baby and he was making noises as if he wanted us to know he was there and that he wanted to survive." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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