Igrane, Morocco: Morocco took a breather yesterday when a rescue worker entered a tunnel and fell into a well and reached a pocket where a five-year-old boy had been trapped for days. A complex and dangerous Earth movement operation has fascinated the Kingdom of North Africa and its inhabitants for five days, and has evoked sympathy for its regional rivals, neighboring Algeria.
The medical team was with a rescue team trying to revive the young Rayan before taking him out. It was not immediately clear how long it would take them to leave the tunnel. A camera inserted into the well where Rayan was stuck showed that he was lying from behind, said Abdelhadi Tamrani, who was responsible for the surgery.
But “it’s impossible to say for sure that he’s alive,” Tamlani told AFP. Onlookers applauded to encourage the rescuers, sang religious songs, prayed, and chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is the best) all at once. Over time, the fear of Rayan’s condition increases. Rescuers tried to deliver oxygen and water to the child, but it was not clear if he was able to use important supplies, AFP reporters said.
Rayan accidentally fell about 32 meters from a narrow shaft near his home in the secluded village of Igrane, Chefchaouen, on Tuesday afternoon. Using a bulldozer and front-end loader, rescue teams have dug the surrounding red earth to the level where the boy is trapped, and are now digging horizontally towards him by hand.
They faced the danger of landslides and yesterday had to maneuver around the large rocks that blocked their way. In the dark, the crew was moving heavy pipes into place in the area. One rescuer pulled what looked like a hand-held rock drill. The glacier’s cold struck this mountainous and poor area of the riff at an altitude of about 700 meters.
Recently, thousands of people have gathered and even camp in solidarity around the site. There, AFP reporters said the tension was obvious. “We are showing solidarity between Morocco and this world-loving child,” said Hafid El Azzoz, a spectator living in the area. “We hope he will leave, at the will of God,” he said.
The shaft, which was only 45 cm in diameter, was too narrow to reach Rayan, and it was thought too dangerous to spread it, so the earthwork dug a wide slope into the hill and reached Rayan from the side. The operation made the landscape look like a construction site. It included engineers and topographers and was made more complicated by the mixture of rock and sand soils.
Civil defense personnel in red helmets may be hung with ropes as if they were on the surface of a cliff. All night, they worked non-stop under powerful floodlights that gave the scene a dark air. “I want my kid to get out of shape,” Rayan’s father told public television 2M on Friday night. “Thanks to everyone involved and those who have supported us in Morocco and elsewhere.”
He said earlier that week he was repairing the well when the boy fell. The drama, with the trendy Arabic hashtag #SaveRayan, caused a rush of sympathy online. “Millions of people around the world are breathtaking in the fight against time to save Rayan,” wrote a Twitter user.
Another paid homage to the rescue workers working 24 hours a day, saying, “They are real heroes.” Police reinforcements were sent and metal barricades were built to prevent swarms of spectators from interfering with rescuers. One volunteer said he came to help. “We’ve been here for three days. Rayan is a kid in our area. We won’t leave until he gets out of the well,” he said.
The accident reflects a tragedy in Spain, where a two-year-old child died after falling into an abandoned well 25 cm wide and 70 m deep. Julen Rosello’s body recovered after 13 days of search and rescue operations. – AFP
https://www.kuwaittimes.com/rescuers-reach-moroccan-boy-trapped-in-well/ Rescuer reaches a Moroccan boy trapped in a well