A mother has been charged with trying to kill her newborn son by leaving him in a drain to die in Australia.
Saifale Nai, 30, of Sydney, faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and is being held in custody until a court hearing on Friday.
The infant was found by passing cyclists who heard his cries on Sunday. They were riding along the M7 motorway in the Quakers Hill suburb when they found him in an eight-foot deep drain.
David Otte, who was on his regular Sunday morning ride with his daughter, said: “We actually thought it was a kitten or something like that. It was only when we went down there and had a real good look at it that we knew what it was.”
Police lifted the concrete drain cover to find the baby wrapped in a striped blanket similar to those those wrapped around babies at hospitals. He had been there for five days.
A spokesperson for New South Wales police said the boy was born on 17 November and left in the drain the next day.
He was found suffering from severe malnourishment and dehydration and is in a serious condition in hospital.
Andrew Pesce, the former president of the Australian Medical Association, said such an ordeal could leave a newborn baby with long-term problems including brain damage.
“There would still have to be some concerns about the baby,” he added.
“I would have thought that it wouldn't have been able to survive for much longer if it didn't start getting fed.”
Helen Polley, a senator for the Australian Labor Party, said the near-tragedy could have been avoided if emergency hatches were introduced at hospitals, police and fire stations where unwanted babies could be safely left.
She is calling for the repeal of laws making child abandonment a criminal offence, which she said causes parents to put children in danger.
Additional reporting by AP