NRL News

Abandoned newborn rescued “just in time”

by | Apr 11, 2018

Survived naked, six feet underground in storm water drain in a colony of stinging red ants

By Dave Andrusko

Grace April was found in a storm drain (Picture: Jamie Pyatt News Ltd)

When abandoned newborns are found alive, the first and perfectly understandable reaction is to call their rescue a miracle. But if you can categorize miracles, what happened April 3 would have to rank at the top.

Charmaine Keevy, of Port Elizabeth, South Africa was out and about for an early morning walk with her dog, Georgie, according to the Daily Mail. Suddenly her little sausage dog started barking loudly at a drain duct in the gutter.

As is so often the case, the sound the catering company boss thought she heard was of a cat mewing. “But when she got on her hands and knees realised she could hear a baby crying from deep inside the drain,” according to Jamie Pyatt and George Martin.

Charmaine began frantically waving down passing cars for help until motorist Cornie Viljoen, 60, pulled over. And after listening for himself they both agreed they could definitely hear a baby sobbing.

He grabbed a steel bar from the boot of his car and with Charmaine’s help the pair of them managed to lever the heavy concrete slab covering the storm water drain free so they could look inside.

The baby was found just a few feet away from a colony of stinging red ants nesting in the drain

The newborn baby girl, naked with her umbilical cord still attached, was rushed by ambulance to the Dora Nginza Hospital where she was treated for hypothermia and respiratory problems. Best guesses are she’d been lying abandoned for a couple of hours and was found just in time.

Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu told the Daily Mail, “The only way the baby could have been got into the drain was by someone removing the cement cover and climbing down inside and placing her there.”

The details are even more amazing. Viljoen told Pyatt and Martin, the hole was higher than his head and “so narrow that I had to go down on my knees and I couldn’t bend over so had to feel down for the baby below.”

‘The red ants were stinging my legs but then I felt this baby’s leg and then saw the baby and I realised that this was a crime scene so I took a flash picture and handed my phone up to Charmaine.

‘I didn’t know if the baby was injured so I tried to pick her up very carefully and very slowly and she was so small. I just wanted to hold her for a while but I knew that she needed urgent medical help.

‘The baby was lucky the red ants were higher up in the drain and not down at the bottom where she was.

“I usually take a different route on my dog walk but for some reason went another way,” Keevy told Metro. “I cannot help but feel that there is some sort of a plan and a purpose for that little girls’ life – it is a miracle without a doubt.

The Daily Mail tells us the Port Elizabeth hospital staff named her Grace April, “and say she has become a ‘celebrity.’

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Categories: Infants