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Miraculous recovery of Russian toddler rescued from under rubble

Miraculous recovery of Russian toddler who was rescued after spending 35 hours crushed under the rubble of an apartment block in sub zero temperatures exactly one year ago

  • Toddler crushed by rubble after New Year explosion has made amazing recovery
  • Twelve months ago Ivan ‘Vanya’ Fokin was pulled from wreckage of apartment
  • One year on the boy, 23 months old, is walking after recovering from tragedy

A miracle toddler who lay buried in rubble for 35 hours in ferocious subzero temperatures after a New Year explosion which killed dozens of people has staged an amazing recovery.

Twelve months ago little Ivan ‘Vanya’ Fokin was seen around the world in dramatic footage as Russian rescuers pulled him from the mangled wreckage of his collapsed ten-storey apartment block.

A giant explosion in Magnitogorsk killed 39 people and injured 17 as residents celebrated the New Year.


Miracle toddler Ivan ‘Vanya’ Fokin taking his first steps after surviving a New Year’s explosion 

Twelve months ago little Ivan ‘Vanya’ Fokin (pictured) was seen around the world in dramatic footage as Russian rescuers pulled him from the mangled wreckage of his collapsed ten-storey apartment block

Ivan ‘Vanya’ Fokin has made an amazing recovery, one year on from the tragic incident 

Ivan ‘Vanya’ Fokin pictured being rescued from rubble, where he lay for 35 hours in ferocious subzero temperatures

There were fears the boy would not survive after he was exposed to temperatures as low as minus 27C encased in fallen concrete and masonry.

Unconscious, he was flown to Moscow for treatment by Russia’s best doctors.

One year on, the boy, now 23 months old, is seen walking after recovering from a fractured and frostbitten leg in the tragedy.

Two months ago he took his first steps since the horror, shows newly released footage.

A New Year memorial service was held for the dead from an explosion said by officials to have been caused by a gas leak but which new Russian media reports claim was a terrorist incident.

Vanya Fokin. One year on, the boy, now 23 months old, is seen walking after recovering from a fractured and frostbitten leg in the tragedy

Vanya Fokin pictured after making a spectacular recovery, one year on 

Miracle baby Vanya Fokin (right) with his mother Olga and elder brother Dmitry

‘Vanya has become much more active, already able to move quite quickly, although until recently he couldn’t even lift his leg correctly,’ said his mother Olga Fokina, 32, who survived the fall clutching her elder son Dmitry, now four.

On 1 January 2019 rescuers had all but given up finding anyone else alive in the carnage – but during a minute’s silence for the dead they heard the boy’s plaintive cries.

A search dog helped locate the spot where the boy was miraculously lying alive, wearing only socks and a flimsy shirt in the remnants of his cot.


Vanya Fokin pictured in hospital following the incident. On 1 January 2019 rescuers had all but given up finding anyone else alive in the carnage – but during a minute’s silence for the dead they heard the boy’s plaintive cries

Vanya Fokin in a Moscow hospital 

Vanya Fokin in hospital after the rescue

Vanya Fokin pictured with his mother Olga (second left) in hospital in Moscow 

Vanya – then almost 11 months old – was plucked to safety by rescuer Pyotr Gritsenko who said: ‘We cut through linoleum and I saw a face of a baby.

‘He was opening his eyes, and reacted to sounds.

‘He was crying and calling for help.

‘There was a huge danger of everything collapsing, but at that point we were not afraid for ourselves – we were scared for the baby.

His rescue came after his father Yevgeny, 35, had forced his way into the rescue zone to plead with emergency workers to recheck for Vanya.

His mother Olga said her son needs more therapy to use his damaged leg correctly.

He suffered nerve damage in the fractured limb.

‘Problems are still there, but it is seriously better,’ she said.


Vanya Fokin being rescued from the debris. His rescue came after his father Yevgeny, 35, had forced his way into the rescue zone to plead with emergency workers to recheck for Vanya

‘For the moment, he steps on this foot in a wrong way.

‘He completed a course of rehabilitation this month, and he is having a rest now.

‘New courses will start in the new year’.

A new documentary from online BAZA media claims the explosion was caused by terrorism, and alleges a cover-up by the authorities.

But Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov hit back: ‘This is nothing but rumour, which is not true.

‘The explosion, the tragedy, was caused by a gas leak.

‘There is no new evidence, and there is nothing to discuss.’

 

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