Dead mother's embrace saves Iranian baby's life
( 2003-12-29 21:37) (Agencies)
A baby girl cradled in her dead mother's arms was rescued alive from the rubble of a collapsed building in Bam on Monday -- a rare moment of joy amid the devastation of Iran's worst earthquake for years.
But rescuers were witness more to the fragility of human life when one seven-year-old boy was found alive but suffocated as people rushed forward to dig him free.
The six-month-old baby girl, named Nassin, was found in remarkably good health 72 hours after the earthquake destroyed her family's house on Friday, Red Crescent aid officials told Reuters.
They said her mother's protective embrace had shielded the child from falling debris and saved her life. The rest of the infant's family was found dead under the rubble.
"We found her this morning wrapped in her mother's arms. She was in good health," a senior Red Crescent Society official in charge of rescue operations in the provincial capital of Kerman told Reuters. Bam is situated in Kerman province.
The world's most lethal quake in at least 10 years, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, laid waste most of Bam's mud brick buildings in seconds.
Officials have warned the death toll could reach 30,000. Caught in their sleep by the quake, many children were killed with their families. Nassin had survived trapped in the rubble despite bitterly cold nights and nothing to drink.
On Saturday night, an Austrian rescue team with sniffer dogs found the seven-year-old boy alive under the rubble of another collapsed building but died soon afterwards.
"We found a seven-year-old boy alive," said Austrian rescue worker Sabine Seichtinger. "The crowd rushed to the scene. But the boy choked and then died."
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