China baby rescued from sewage pipe out of hospital

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Media captionThe BBC's Martin Patience reports the baby is in very good health

The Chinese baby boy rescued from a sewage pipe has been released from hospital to relatives, officials say.

The baby had been in hospital in Jinhua city, Zhejiang province, since being cut free from the pipe on Saturday.

His 22-year-old mother, who has not been named, said the baby slipped into the toilet and went down the pipe by accident as she gave birth.

The baby left with his mother's family, an official with the Pujiang propaganda department told the BBC.

Police initially treated the case as an attempted murder, believing the baby had been thrown down the toilet, says the BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing.

But now police say the evidence shows this is not the case.

"This was an accident," an official from the Pujiang propaganda department told the BBC.

"The baby was taken by his mother's family. His father's family went to the hospital too. He left in good heath condition."

Local police told Reuters news agency on Thursday the baby's maternal grandparents took him to a rural location.

'Baby 59'

According to local reports, the mother alerted her landlord after the baby fell into the pipe, but did not admit the baby was hers until later.

An official told the Associated Press news agency it was because she was frightened.

China's Zhezhong News reported that she told police she could not afford to have an abortion. She was unmarried, did not think she could afford to look after the baby, and kept her pregnancy secret, reports say.

The father said he intended to verify whether the baby was his, Xinhua news agency reported, quoting local officials.

Pre-marital sex is now common in China, but single mothers are often shunned by society, our correspondent adds.

The infant has been referred to as Baby No 59 - after the number of his hospital incubator. He suffered minor abrasions on his head and limbs after being confined in the 10cm (4 inch) pipe.

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