Baby survives 9 hours buried under debris

2018-07-10 06:35
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A 5-month-old infant who miraculously survived more than nine hours being buried under a pile of sticks and debris in the woods of western Montana suffered only minor injuries despite wearing wet and soiled clothes in cold weather, authorities said on Monday.

The baby boy is otherwise in good condition, authorities said.

Missoula County Sheriff's deputies were called about 20:00 on Saturday about a man threatening people in the Lolo Hot Springs area of the Lolo National Forest. Deputies apprehended the man, who indicated that a baby was buried somewhere in the woods.

The sheriff's office hastily put together a search crew of federal, state and local officials that combed the forest outside the hot springs for six hours before a deputy heard a baby's cry at about 02:30 on Sunday.

He found the baby face-down under the pile of sticks and debris, dressed only in a wet and soiled onesie in the 8°C weather.

"He suffered some minor scrapes and bruising but overall is in good health," sheriff's spokesperson Brenda Bassett said in a statement on Monday.

The baby was taken to a hospital. Custody of the child has been referred to the state Division of Child and Family Services, whose spokesperson, Chuck Council, did not immediately return a call for comment on Monday.

Francis Crowley, 32, was being held on $50 000 bail on a charge of criminal endangerment. Additional charges will follow, the sheriff's office said in a statement on Sunday.

"For all of us at the sheriff's office, this is what we call a miracle," the statement said. "For the officers who were present for this event, it's especially hard knowing what this small baby endured in the last 24 hours."

The nature of Crowley's relationship to the baby was not immediately clear. There was no information on whether Crowley had an attorney.

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