'Healthy' newborn baby rescued from sewage pipe after being flushed down the toilet

The incident took place in China’s Zhejiang province on Saturday

Beijing

Warning: This video contains images which some viewers may find distressing

The pipe was not wide enough for the firefighter’s hand to reach down to get to the newborn baby trapped inside. But, after a two-hour rescue operation, as shown in this series of startling pictures, “Baby No 59” was miraculously retrieved from a section of sewage pipe from beneath a toilet in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang at the weekend.

Emergency crews were called to an apartment block in the city of Jinhua on Saturday afternoon after residents alerted authorities to the sound of a baby crying. What they discovered when they arrived has sent shockwaves across China.

Firefighters found a newborn baby boy that had been flushed down a lavatory headfirst and became lodged in the sewerage pipe. They had to remove an L-shaped section of pipe, 10cm in diameter, and take it to a hospital, where doctors carefully used pliers to cut it open to release the infant. Video footage of the dramatic two-hour rescue was broadcast widely on television news bulletins and websites. Named Baby No 59 after the number of his hospital incubator, he was said to be in a stable condition last night.

Jinhua residents who watched the rescue footage arrived at the hospital with contributions of nappies, baby clothes and powdered milk.

Reports about the baby’s parents varied last night. According to The Jinhua Daily newspaper, police have questioned a 20-year-old unmarried mother who lives on the fourth floor of the block of flats.

One police officer suggested that the mother concealed her pregnancy and the baby fell into the toilet when she unexpectedly gave birth. Other reports said the child was a few days old when the mother accidentally dropped it into the lavatory. 

“The woman was on the scene during the entire rescue process... and admitted [she was the mother] when we asked her,” the police officer, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Agence France-Presse news agency. He said his colleagues would continue to investigate whether the mother “had any malicious intentions” before deciding if charges should be filed against her. Police had no information about the baby’s father.

It is not uncommon for babies to be abandoned in China, which has imposed a one-child policy for more than three decades. Couples can face fines if they violate the policy. But this latest case has led to widespread soul-searching about the country’s moral state on Sina Weibo, the microblogging site which is China’s version of Twitter. One user, Weixian de Shuozhuo, wrote: “This kind of thing makes me speechless. Since I was young, I’ve seen deserted babies on trash heaps. It seems that in Chinese people’s eyes, throwing a baby away is not an evil thing.”

Others were more sympathetic. “I feel sad for the [baby’s] mum. At the same time I am startled by the miracle of life. I hope this child will grow up as someone who achieves greatness,” wrote Gui da Shushu.

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
News
Robyn Lawley
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior IT Trainer - Buckinghamshire - £250 - £350 p/d

£200 - £300 per day: Ashdown Group: IT Trainer - Marlow, Buckinghamshire - £25...

Education Recruitment Consultant- Learning Support

£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...

All Primary NQT's

£100 - £120 per day + per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Description Calling a...

Supply Teachers Needed in Thetford

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers neede...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star