Moroccan rescuers close in on five-year-old boy trapped in well


Show caption Residents watch civil defence workers and local authorities attempting to rescue a five-year-old boy who fell into a deep well. Photograph: Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP Morocco Moroccan rescuers close in on five-year-old boy trapped in well Complex and dangerous operation grips residents after Rayan fell 32 metres down an empty shaft in Chefchaouen Associated Press in Ighran Fri 4 Feb 2022 18.19 GMT Share on Facebook

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Rescuers have inched closer to reaching a five-year-old boy trapped for three days in a well in Morocco, in an operation hampered by concerns about ground stability that has captivated the north African country.

Rayan fell into a 32 metre (105 ft) well located outside his home in the village of Ighran in Morocco’s northern Chefchaouen province on Tuesday evening.

Search crews first used five bulldozers over several days to dig to a depth of more than 31 meters, according to Morocco‘s official Map news agency. Then on Friday, they started excavating a horizontal tunnel to reach the trapped boy, Map said, adding that experts in topographical engineering were called upon for help.

Moroccan authorities have called on the public to ‘let the rescuers do their job and save this child’. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Work was temporarily halted, but resumed later. “Digging has stopped momentarily out of concern that the ground surrounding the well could collapse,” Abdelhadi Temrani, a rescue committee member, told local television 2M.

Rescue workers used a rope to provide oxygen and water to the boy, but were unable to reach him via the hole where he is trapped because of its narrow diameter.

“I pray and beg God that he comes out of that well alive and safe,” his mother, Wassima Kharchich, told 2M. “Please, God, ease my pain and his, in that hole of dust.”

Medical staff, including resuscitation specialists, are on site to attend to the boy once he is pulled out, with a helicopter on standby to transport him to the nearest hospital.

The Moroccan government said on Thursday that all efforts were being made to help save the boy.

Scores of townspeople and others gathered to help and watch the rescue efforts. Nationwide, Moroccans expressed their hopes for the boy’s survival, using the hashtag #SaveRaya, which has brought global attention to the rescue efforts.