IGHRAN, Morocco (AP) — Attempts to rescue a 5-year-old boy trapped in a Moroccan well stretched into a fourth day Saturday, with unstable soil threatening the painstaking work of trying to digging him out safely.
Online messages of support and concern for the boy, Rayan, poured in from around the world as the rescue efforts dragged through the night. Rescuers used a rope to send oxygen and water down to the boy as well as a camera to monitor him, but did not provide information Saturday about his condition.
Rayan fell into a 32-meter (105-feet) well located outside his home in the village of Ighran in Morocco’s northern Chefchaouen province on Tuesday evening. He is now trapped in a hole too narrow for rescuers to reach safely.
For three days, search crews used bulldozers to dig a parallel ditch. Then on Friday, they started excavating a horizontal tunnel to reach the trapped boy. Morocco’s MAP news agency said that experts in topographical engineering were called upon for help.
Work was temporarily halted Friday because of fears that the soil surrounding the well could collapse on the boy, but then resumed.
Medical staff, including specialists in resuscitation, 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.
His distraught parents are joined by hundreds of villagers and others who have gathered to watch the rescue operation.
Nationwide, Moroccans took to social media to offer their hopes for the boy’s survival, using the hashtag #SaveRayan which has brought global attention to the rescue efforts.