BOGOTA — Colombians are celebrating as a miracle the rescue of an 11-month-old baby who survived a massive mudslide that killed at least 78 people — including the child’s mother and 11 other relatives.
Jhosep Diaz was found buried face-down in the mud Monday, more than half a mile from where he had been sleeping when a flash flood swept away dozens of homes before dawn Monday in the mountain town of Salgar.
The doctor who first treated him said he was very cold and nearing hypothermia, but appeared to have avoided greater damages because he was nestled in a padded crib when he was carried away by the current.
“He was unconscious and didn’t open his little eyes but was breathing,” Dr Jesus Antonio Guisao told The Associated Press today as details of the baby’s saga emerged on the front-pages of Colombia’s newspapers.
After the baby’s vital signs were stabilized, he was transferred to a hospital in Medellin, where he continues to be monitored. Doctors today said the baby suffered multiple abrasions and light bruises as well as a broken rib, but is otherwise recovering well.
The heart-warming tale of survival contrasts with the still-emerging picture of devastation in Colombia’s most-deadly natural disaster since a 1999 earthquake.
Authorities today told the AP there’s no chance of finding any more survivors, even as a team of 300 rescuers continued to search home by home the neighborhoods ravaged by the mudslide.
Among those killed are 12 of the baby’s relatives, including his mother. Another four family members are still missing, according to Gabriel Angel Rincon, one of the infant’s relatives.
The boy and his 22-year-old mother lived in a nearby town but were visiting relatives in Salgar when the tragedy struck, Rincon told the AP. The child’s grandfather, who is with him in Medellin, is expected to assume custody. The boy’s father was killed a year ago, Rincon told the AP.