A group of Rescuers entered the tunnel in northern Morocco on Saturday afternoon in the hope of finding alive Rayan, a 5-year-old boy, who fell there five days ago, AFP found.
The rescuers descended together with a team of doctors, without knowing for the moment how long they could remain in that narrow 32-meter-deep well located near Ighran, not far from the town of Bab Berred, in the province of Chefchaouen.
A team of firefighters and an ambulance, in which the child’s parents remain, await the moment to intervene at the tunnel entrance. A helicopter with medical supplies is also nearby.
In the images obtained by a probe camera, Rayan “appears lying on his back” in a bend in the well, but it is “impossible to say with certainty if he is alive,” one of the rescue team leaders, Abdelhadi Tamrani, explained in the morning.
However, Tamrani told other media that he has “high hopes” of extracting him alive, after an operation that has attracted the attention of the world.
Rescuers struggled to send oxygen and water through tubes and bottles, without any certainty that the boy was able to use them, according to AFP journalists.
The drilling of a horizontal tunnel of a few meters advanced at a crawl, to avoid collapse, in this town in a poor region of northern Morocco.
At dawn a large rock hindered the work. According to the authorities, after three hours of effort, they were able to overcome it with the help of small electrical equipment.
Thousands of people, some from the region, came to show their solidarity and camp there despite the freezing cold of this mountainous area of the Rif, some 700 meters above sea level.
“We came to support the rescuers. Rayan is a child from our region, we pray to God that he be saved,” said a volunteer. “We’re not leaving until he’s out of the well,” he added.
Police deployed reinforcements to prevent the crowd from disrupting rescue efforts.
“I remain hopeful that my son will come out of that well alive,” Rayan’s father told 2M public television on Friday. “I thank all the mobilized people and those who support us in Morocco and elsewhere,” he added.
The tragedy began with the disappearance of the child on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. local time (1:00 p.m. GMT): “The whole family mobilized to look for him until we realized that he had fallen into the well,” said, in tears, the mother of the little boy.
Rayan’s accident has generated sympathy and solidarity on social media around the world.
“Hold on little Rayan, please hold on,” implored one netizen on Twitter.
“Our hearts go out to the family and we pray to God that he be reunited with his relatives as soon as possible,” said government spokesman Mustapha Baitas, urging those present at the scene to “let rescuers work to save to this child.”
This accident recalls a tragedy that occurred in Spain in 2019 when a two-year-old boy died after falling into an abandoned well 24 centimeters in diameter and more than 100 meters deep in Andalusia. After a major operation, the remains of the minor were recovered thirteen days later.