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Beirut rescuers report ‘strong breathing’ on 3rd day searching rubble

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Sept. 5 (UPI) — Two days after rescuers detected signs of life under the rubble of a building collapsed in last month’s explosion in Beirut, officials said Saturday they’ve discovered “strong breathing.”

Rescue teams re-tested the rubble with a machine that previously detected a faint pulse indicating a survivor in a “coma state, breathing slowly.” This time, they believe they’ve discovered “strong breathing” and a heartbeat.

But search-and-rescue teams had not found any concrete signs of a survivor by Saturday afternoon.

Riad al-Assad, overseer of the site for the Lebanese Civil Defense, added that all areas have been cleared where the imaging machines had detected signs of life, including the roof, second roof and stairways.

“Third roof we had nothing there,” he said, referring to the signs of life that the machine detected. “Nevertheless, we’ll go to the extreme of our capabilities and remove the third [roof].”

Al Jazeera reported from Beirut that the Chilean rescue team aided by Lebanese civil defense volunteers, said they had decided not to “give up.”

The Aug. 4 explosion killed nearly 200 people and injured about 6,500 more. The blast occurred after more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate being stored at a port in the Lebanese capital city detonated during a fire.

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