Tears run as tough city unit cops rescue newborn girl from pit toilet

2015-06-08 10:18
Sergeant Nolan Wallace comforts the ice-cold but crying baby girl as he carries her from the pit latrine.

Sergeant Nolan Wallace comforts the ice-cold but crying baby girl as he carries her from the pit latrine. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - Members of the Pietermaritzburg search-and-rescue unit staged a dramatic rescue to save a newborn baby allegedly dumped in a pit toilet.

Team leader Lieutenant Jack Haskins said they raced to the Elandskop area on Saturday morning after receiving a report that a baby’s scream could be heard coming from a pit latrine.

When they arrived, the baby girl, who had been wrapped in a blanket and dumped in human waste, was quiet. She had been in the toilet for at least four hours.

The mother of the child, 24, has been arrested and faces attempted murder charges.

Haskins said he was about to leave home for the Royal Showgrounds when he received the call.

Some of his team members in different vehicles were already rushing to the scene.

“My thoughts were, get there as fast as you can,” said Haskins.

When they arrived, they found that the owners of the homestead had removed the concrete slab at the back of the toilet in their attempts to help rescue the child.

“The baby was quiet, but as soon as we looked inside the toilet she cried and we saw where she was,” he said.

“All the members of this unit are fathers. The moment she screamed we knew we had to get her out as quickly as we could.

“I took a piece of steel fence and placed it on the human waste. I climbed down and stood on the steel and picked her up. I climbed out before the steel started to sink. It took about five minutes to get her out,” he said.

They cleaned the tiny baby before rushing her to an ambulance.

“We were concerned about hypothermia as we understood she had been in the toilet since around 4am.”

He said they met the ambulance on the Boston/Bulwer road and handed ER24 paramedics the baby. She was quickly rushed to Greys Hospital where she is doing well.

Haskins said he and his team were overcome by emotion at what they saw.

“Ninety-nine percent of what we do deals with death. It’s a strong feeling when we save someone. Knowing that we have given that person a chance in life is a wonderful feeling; it’s something you cannot describe.

“I had tears coming down my cheeks when we rescued her,” he said.

Haskins said this was the second time in 21 years that he had gone down into a pit toilet to rescue a child.

Chitra Bodasing, spokesperson for ER24, said the baby girl did not sustain any injuries but was very cold. “She was warmed up by the paramedics and transported to hospital. She is fine and being kept under observation.

“The little baby girl was born early [on Saturday] morning and is 2.9 kg.”

Police spokesperson Constable Mthokozisi Ngobese did not want to speculate on how the baby came to be in the toilet.

“Everything is still subject to police investigation,” he said

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  child abuse

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