A newborn baby who was rescued from a sewer pipe in China has been returned to his mother.
Authorities have decided the infant became trapped in the pipe underneath a squat toilet in Pujiang county as the result of an accident, and the 22-year-old woman will face no charges.
The boy’s rescue became a worldwide sensation after footage of the two-hour procedure to cut the infant from a section of piping was broadcast. The case prompted both horror and an outpouring of charity on behalf of the child.
The boy has been taken away from a hospital by his mother and a man believed to be the father.
The man has requested a paternity test and - if the baby is his - is ready to discuss with the woman how to support the baby, an official in Pujiang county, in the eastern Zhejiang province, said.
It is not clear if the couple, whose names have not been released, will raise the child together.
The case has provoked debate over China’s lack of proper education about sex and birth in many schools. Unwanted pregnancies have been on the rise because of an increasingly lax attitude toward pre-marital sex in the country.
Police concluded that the 22-year-old single woman faces no charges, deciding she did not initially step forward because she was frightened, and that she gradually had a change of heart and began to tell the truth, an official said.
The woman told police she got pregnant after a brief affair with the man, hid her pregnancy from family and neighbours, and secretly delivered the child on Saturday in a rental building’s toilet. She said the infant accidentally slipped into the squat toilet and she raised the alarm. She did not initially claim the child was hers.
Firefighters who arrived at the rental building found the infant trapped in an L-shaped section of sewage pipe just below the toilet in one of the building’s shared bathrooms.
In video footage, officials were shown removing the pipe from a ceiling that apparently was just below the restroom and then, at the hospital, using pliers and saws to gently pull apart the pipe, which was about three inches in diameter.
The baby, who weighed six pounds, 2.8 ounces, had a low heart rate and some minor abrasions on his head and limbs, but was mostly unhurt.