Rescue workers in South Africa pulled a newborn baby from a storm drain in a four-hour operation that ended with applause and cheers from onlookers.

Video footage shows a rescuer passing the baby to a colleague standing above a pit as people celebrate the successful rescue.

Rescue Care Paramedics, one of the groups that helped with the rescue effort, said it was unclear why the baby was "dumped" and that police were investigating.

The group said emergency responders went to the scene on Monday after residents heard a baby crying from deep inside the concrete storm drain.

The area was dug up and a chisel and hammer were used to break into the drain, the group said.

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