A team with a rescue dog first detected movement under a destroyed building in Gemmayze, one of the areas worst hit by the August 4 blast that killed about 190 people.

Lebanese and Chilean rescuers search in the rubble of a collapsed building after getting signals there may be a survivor in Beirut, Lebanon. A pulsing signal was detected on Thursday from under the rubble of a Beirut building that collapsed during the horrific port explosion in the Lebanese capital last month, raising hopes there may be a survivor still buried there. September 4, 2020.
Lebanese and Chilean rescuers search in the rubble of a collapsed building after getting signals there may be a survivor in Beirut, Lebanon. A pulsing signal was detected on Thursday from under the rubble of a Beirut building that collapsed during the horrific port explosion in the Lebanese capital last month, raising hopes there may be a survivor still buried there. September 4, 2020. (Hussein Malla / Reuters)

Rescue workers are digging through rubble in a wrecked district of Lebanon's capital in search of possible survivors from a mega-blast at the adjacent port one month ago, after scanners detected a pulse.

The search operations resumed early on Friday in a building that collapsed last month in Beirut’s deadly blast in hopes of finding a survivor under the rubble after a pulsing signal was detected.

The news came as Lebanon was to mark one month since the blast that killed and wounded thousands of people and traumatised the country. 

A moment of silence was planned at 1508 GMT (6:08 pm local time), the moment that marks the most destructive single incident in Lebanon's history on August 4.

A sniffer dog used by Chilean rescuers on Wednesday night responded to a scent from the site of a collapsed building in the Gemmayzeh area.

"These (signs of breathing and pulse) along with the temperature sensor means there is a possibility of life," rescue worker Eddy Bitar told reporters at the scene on Thursday evening.

"There could be survivors," Governor Marwan Abboud said, explaining that scanners had detected a pulse, however faint the hope of finding anyone alive more than four weeks after the explosion.

"We hope someone will make it out alive," Abboud said.

Michel al Mur of the Beirut fire department also said a pulse was detected about two metres (six feet) below the rubble.

"One person, according to the (thermal) camera, still has a pulse," Mur said.

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A Chilean rescue dog sits near the site of a collapsed building after getting signals there may be a survivor under the rubble, early morning on September 4, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon.
A Chilean rescue dog sits near the site of a collapsed building after getting signals there may be a survivor under the rubble, early morning on September 4, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. (Hussein Malla / AP)

19 breaths per minute

The building has completely collapsed as a result of the blast that killed 191 people, wounded more than 6,500 others and destroyed swathes of Beirut.

After several hours of digging through rubble, however, the operation was halted because the building was deemed too unsafe. Heavier machinery was required to help lift the rubble safely, a rescue worker said, and it could not be brought until Friday morning.

"There's a lot of danger to the team," Mur told reporters. "There are 10 of them up there, and we can't take a risk on a single one of them."

The team of rescue workers included volunteers who came from Chile, as well as Lebanese volunteers and members of the civil defense.

Seven people are still missing, according to the Lebanese army.

Chilean rescuers, Lebanese civil defence teams and Beirut fire department workers were excavating the site.

Speaking to local broadcaster LBCI, a rescue worker said scanners had picked up a respiratory rate of "19 breaths a minute".

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'There's a soul in there'

News of the rescue prompted crowds to form at the rescue site, who grew angry as rescue efforts were paused in a city desperate for hope.

"Shame! Shame! There's a soul in there!" one woman shouted at Lebanese army members guarding the site.

Earlier in the evening, rescue workers in bright jackets clambered over the building, which had collapsed in the blast. 

It once housed a bar on its ground floor.

One rescue worker also carried a rescue dog onto the mound of smashed masonry.

Lebanon on Friday marks one month since the blast that authorities say was caused by a shipment of ammonium nitrate left to languish for years at Beirut's port.

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Source: AFP