Chinese baby 'fell into sewage pipe accidentally'

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Media captionFootage shows the baby recovering in hospital. Martin Patience's report from 29 May 2013 contains some distressing scenes

The Chinese baby that was rescued from a sewage pipe fell in accidentally, the baby's mother has said.

The mother, who has not been named, reportedly told police she unexpectedly gave birth on the toilet and that the baby slipped in to the sewer.

She is reported to have raised the initial alarm, despite not admitting it was her baby until later.

The baby is currently recovering in hospital after being cut free from the pipe in Jinhua city on Saturday.

China's Zhezhong News reported that the 22-year old mother told police she could not afford an abortion. She was unmarried and kept her pregnancy secret, police told AFP news agency.

She said she tried to catch the baby after unexpectedly giving birth, but that he slipped into the sewer. She then alerted her landlord, according to state news agency Xinhua.

The mother did not think she could afford to look after the baby, so she did not tell anyone that the baby was hers, reports Xinhua. She went to work after he had been rescued and only admitted the baby was hers when confronted by police later.

Police are continuing to investigate whether the incident was an accident or the result of a deliberate act, reports Xinhua.

Nappies donated

The infant was named Baby No 59 - after the number of his hospital incubator.

He was found inside a pipe just 10cm (4 in) in diameter, the China Daily newspaper said.

He suffered some minor abrasions on his head and limbs, but is said to be recovering well.

A number of visitors came to the hospital with contributions of nappies, baby clothes and powdered milk.

Wu Xinhong, the head of the Pujiang People's Hospital, told AFP that the baby's condition was "good" and that he was ready to be released.

The case has generated condemnation on weibo, China's version of Twitter, with accusations that the baby had been deliberately dumped.

Chinese media regularly report cases of babies born outside marriage being abandoned, or female newborns abandoned because of a traditional preference for sons.

Image caption Residents called rescuers after they heard the infant's cries. (WARNING: This gallery contains images some may find disturbing)
Image caption Rescuers tried to pull the baby out of the pipe at the scene, but failed.
Image caption They took the pipe to hospital, where it was pulled apart to release the infant.
Image caption The police are continuing to investigate the case

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