An infant pulled out of the rubble alive has regained consciousness a week after an explosion sent a section of an apartment block crashing in the industrial city of Magnitogorsk, Russia’s top health official said Monday.
The infant, between 10 and 11 months old according to various reports, was found with a frostbitten leg and a head injury on New Year’s Day after 35 hours spent in the freezing cold. The pre-dawn Dec. 31 blast, believed to be caused by a gas leak, killed 39 residents of the Soviet-era apartment block.
“Today we can say that the baby has improved significantly: he has been breathing on his own for two days,” Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova was quoted as saying by Interfax.
“He’s actively responding and communicating with his mother,” she told journalists.
The baby’s family survived the tragedy: his father was at work, while his mother and older brother escaped the apartment block as it was collapsing.
“This is a New Year’s miracle for us,” the father, Yevgeny Fokin, said after the rescue.
Skvortsova also promised that doctors will be able to save the baby’s frostbitten leg, noting that it will be a “long and difficult” process.
“The worst is over,” Interfax quoted her as saying. “We can say that the child has survived.”