Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)
Hope pinned on rescue dog’s instinct
RESCUE workers in Beirut dug through rubble and probed a collapsed building with sensors yesterday after signs of life were detected under a mound of debris in the residential district of Gemmayze, exactly one month after a huge explosion shattered the capital.
When Flash the sniffer dog detected a scent at the site on Thursday, many Lebanese rediscovered hope. They branded Flash and the Chilean rescue team as heroes.
As the team was walking through the neighbourhood, Flash suddenly ran towards a destroyed building, alerting the team and the rescue operation started promptly.
Rescuers used scanning equipment to create 3D images of the wreckage to try to locate anyone alive, local television images showed.
“The machine is saying that there is one alive, a heartbeat, and the dog is marking a dead body in a spot. This is the theory. Now we are searching to make sure,” said Mansour Al Asmar, a Lebanese volunteer rescue worker.
Topos Chile are a specialised and experienced team in saving people from highly critical situations similar to the Beirut blast. The members are considered heroes in their country.
The Chilean volunteer rescuers arrived a few days ago to look for survivors under the rubble.
Most Lebanese have been glued to their television screens. All major networks are broadcasting the operation live, hoping they will see the rescuers pull someone alive from under the rubble. On August 4, Beirut was shaken by a massive explosion, when ammonium nitrate that was poorly stored in a warehouse caught fire.
The explosion at the port killed at least 190 people and wounded some 6 000. According to the Health Ministry, seven people – including Syrians and an Egyptian – are still missing.
The explosion ripped through a swathe of the capital, smashing up districts such as Gemmayze, home to many old, traditional buildings, some of which crumbled in the shockwave.
Lebanese civil society expressed its support to the Chilean team for what they said was a better job than that performed by the Lebanese government.