A newborn baby boy is in a stable condition in eastern China after firefighters rescued him from a sewage pipe under a squat toilet.
Police believe the infant – named Baby No. 59 after the number of his hospital incubator –was flushed down a public toilet in an apartment building in Jinhua city after his unmarried mother unexpectedly gave birth.
Residents raised the alarm on Saturday after hearing the baby’s cries. He suffered “severe bruising” during his ordeal.
The baby's mother later said she "deeply regrets what she did," according to a post by Jinhua police on the social media site Weibo.
"Local police have found the mother. She deeply regrets what she did. Details of the case are still under investigation," the post read, according to CNN.
A video of the dramatic rescue shows firefighters sawing away a section of the four-inch diameter pipe containing the baby. They took the pipe to a hospital where rescue workers and medics used pliers and saws to take the tube apart piece by piece and recover the baby, whose placenta was still attached.
Police have located the birth mother and are investigating whether she intended to kill the baby.
“The woman was on the scene during the entire rescue process … and admitted (she was the mother) when we asked her,” a police source said.
“We need further investigations to find out if she had any malicious intentions.”
Offers to adopt the baby have been pouring in along with donations of nappies, baby clothes and powdered milk.
Sky News said the story has revived debate in China about the country's one-child policy, which can mean heavy fines for couples who have more than one child.