Beirut Port Worker Miraculously Found Alive In Sea 30 Hours After Explosion
Thirty hours after Beirut’s catastrophic explosion, a port worker who was reportedly blown into the sea has been found alive.
Amin al-Zahed, whose photo had been posted on an Instagram page dedicated to finding missing residents in the Lebanon capital following the explosion on August 4, was found alive in the Mediterranean Sea, according to local media.
While al-Zahed’s condition isn’t currently known at the time of writing, nor are details regarding how he managed to survive, photos that emerged on social media showed him badly injured and lying on the deck of a ship.
The port worker was reportedly taken to Rafic Hariri University Hospital in Beirut after his sea rescue, Al Arabiya reports.
The Instagram page @locatevictimsbeirut, has already assisted in finding injured victims of the Lebanese capital’s explosion, including a young girl who was found alive after 24 hours stuck under the rubble. Other heroes have been applauded online, such as a nurse photographed holding three newborn babies during the incident.
Satellite imagery has revealed the devastating scale of the blast, leaving a large underwater crater in the port, occupying the space once held by buildings. All across the city, cars were tipped and destroyed, windows were blown out and homes as far as 10km away were affected.
Following the order of a two-week state of emergency, the Lebanese army has since taken control of the area and the surrounding devastation, which has left more than 300,000 people without homes. More than 5,000 people have been injured, with at least 137 people killed, though a health ministry spokesperson said: ‘This toll is not final.’
Lebanon President Michel Aoun attributed the explosion to more than 2,750 tons of abandoned ammonium nitrate – likely confiscated by authorities ‘a while back’, according to General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab said at a defence council meeting, as per Al Arabiya: ‘It is unacceptable that a shipment of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate has been present for six years in a warehouse, without taking preventive measures. It is unacceptable and we cannot remain silent on this issue.’
Julie Verhaar, Amnesty International’s acting secretary general, also told The Guardian: ‘Whatever may have caused the explosion, including the possibility of a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely, Amnesty is calling for an international mechanism to be promptly set up to investigate how this happened.’
Diab added that whoever is responsible for the explosion – roughly one-tenth of the power of Hiroshima bomb – will ‘pay the price… I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability’.
Pending a full investigation into the cause and culpability for the explosion, a number of port officials have been placed on house arrest.
CreditsAl Arabiya and 3 others