Since late Thursday, the world has tuned in to witness the nerve-wracking rescue operation of a potentially live person buried under the rubble in Mar Mikhail, Beirut.
The operation’s progress has been affected by several factors but has nonetheless continued relentlessly until afternoon Friday, and continues as of the time of writing.
Civil Defense has been working alongside the Chilean rescue team, which is the team that initially detected heartbeat signals from under the rubble, to reach their target with the help of the cranes that were called in in the early hours of Friday.
By sunrise, the rescuers were able to remove, using the cranes, the large cement blocks, and the heavy debris that had been blocking their path.
At that time, a pungent smell emerged from the site, and a swarm of flies was reported in the area.
Between Thursday and Friday, the detected heart rate decreased from the initial 20 BPM to 15 BPM, then to 7 BPM in the most recent scan.
As the teams got closer to their target – as close as 40 cm as of 9 AM Friday – progress slowed down because the remains of the structure became more unstable.
A new scan conducted by the Chilean team at around noon showed no signs of any bodies under the rubble. Soon after, however, the team affirmed that they were detecting a breathing cycle of 7 breaths per minute under the destroyed building.
Later, a bulldozer was brought in to support the efforts that have been ongoing for over 24 hours, while a specialized suction machine was deployed to clear the dust that was impeding the efforts.
On Thursday night, the street at the targeted site was filled with rage after the Lebanese Army ordered the Chilean team to suspend their operation until the next day, due to the lack of a crane to support the unstable structure.
The pressure forced the operation to recommence and cranes were later deployed at the site.
The respiratory cycle detected by the Chilean team’s rescue dog was enough to keep a nation awake through the night and a large crowd to stand in the street for hours as they anxiously looked on for a sign of hope.
If a live person is pulled out when the operation is over, they will have been stuck under the rubble for a month.
Most work is believed to have been done and the brave team is getting closer and closer to locate the source of life they worked all night to save.