Beirut explosion: “No life inside the building” after several days of research

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BEIRUT – A Chilean search team emptied itself after a desperate search inside a collapsed building in Beirut’s Gemmayze neighborhood, a month after an August 4 blast leveled the entire area surrounding the port of the city.

Residents of Beirut held their breath after signs of life were again detected in the rubble on Saturday morning. But the research team relayed the disappointing news of its lack of success on Saturday night.

“Unfortunately, today we can say that there is no life inside the building,” team leader Francisco Lermanda said at a press conference. “Despite this, protocols must continue to keep the entire area secure inside and out. … We want to tell you that we want to continue with our protocols so that we can reject the presence of anyone inside the building. Today we have done the last action. ”

“We dug a tunnel and our two women saved [workers] broke down due to their expertise and size so we can finally dismiss that there was no body inside, ”added the rescuer.

The team said they would continue to sift through the rubble on the sidewalk for three to four hours.

The rescue team was first alerted Thursday to someone who may have been inside the building by their dog, Flash, who is trained to detect humans.

A machine detected a heartbeat of around 17 beats per minute coming from a staircase between the building and a nearby store, Lebanese Civil Defense told ABC News.

After a second day of research, teams decided to leave the site on Friday evening and wait for cell phone frequencies to drop as people evacuated the area.

When they tested the machine again on Saturday morning, they detected a strong heartbeat and heavy breathing.

However, search and rescue teams who were focusing their efforts on the stairs finished clearing the area at 2 p.m. local time in the afternoon, finding nothing. They then went in search of a collapsed roof.

Riad Al Assad, the engineer who oversees the Lebanese Civil Defense site, said that all areas where the machines had detected traces of life have now been cleaned: “The machines, the dog and the thermal cameras have always indicated [the] first roof, second roof [and] stairs. ”

“Third roof, we had nothing there. Nonetheless, we will go to the extreme of our abilities and remove the third [roof]Al Assad said.

Parts of the city are still being cleared of rubble and glass after 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded in the port of Beirut, causing a shock wave that damaged parts of the Lebanese capital and killed at least 180 people.

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