5-year-old Moroccan boy Rayan dead after being trapped in well for days

A 5-year-old Moroccan boy trapped in a dry, 104-foot well for nearly five days was pulled out Saturday after a painstaking rescue effort, but did not survive the ordeal.

Thunderous cheers, applause and prayers erupted from hundreds of onlookers as medics carried the boy, named Rayan, on a red stretcher to a waiting ambulance, which rushed him to a hospital. His parents were waiting nearby.

Shortly after the dramatic extraction, state media said that the child had died.

Moroccan King Mohammed VI called to offer the parents, Khaled Oram and Wassima Kharchich, condolences.

News of Rayan’s death was heartbreaking, not only for those at the scene, but the millions around the world, who were gripped by the drama of the rescue operation, which could be seen on livestreams from the small northern Morocco village of Ighran.

The body of 5-year-old Rayan, wrapped in foil, is retrieved after he fell into a hole and was stuck for several days in the Moroccan village of Ighran.
Mosaab Elshamy/AP
An ambulance carries Rayan to a nearby helicopter.
Rescue workers carry 5-year-old child, Rayan Awram, who has been trapped for five days in a well, to an ambulance, during a rescue operation near Chefchaouen, northern Morocco February 5, 2022,
Rescue workers carry Rayan to an ambulance after he was rescued.
Rescuers work to reach a five-year-old boy Rayan
Rescuers were able to reach 5-year-old Rayan on Feb. 5, 2022, but the boy died after being rescued.
Al Aloula 1
Parents getting into the ambulance to await their son
Rayan died after being removed from the well after five days.
Rayan got trapped on Feb. 1, 2022.
Moroccan King Mohammed VI offered condolences to Rayan’s parents.

Moroccan soldiers and police wearing bright yellow vests had formed a cordon from the tunnel entrance to allow the ambulance to get through the crowd of onlookers who had gathered into the night, waiting for Rayan’s rescue.

It was unclear when Ryan died. Images taken with a camera sent down the shaft earlier in the week showed Rayan breathing heavily, with blood on his face. Rescue workers also lowered food and water to the child during the days it took to dig him out, but it was not known if he was able to eat or drink while he was underground.

The rescue crews needed days of round-the-clock effort to reach the boy, who fell down the shaft Tuesday while his father was working on the well. Attempts to retrieve him the way he fell in were unsuccessful because the shaft, roughly 18 inches wide at ground level, narrowed to about 8 inches about 75 feet down, and took a turn near the bottom.

Rescuers work to reach a five-year-old boy trapped in a well in the northern hill town of Chefchaouen, Morocco February 5, 2022.
Rescuers worked for days to reach the trapped boy.
REUTERS/Thami Nouas
Bystanders watch as Moroccan emergency teams work to rescue five-year-old boy Rayan from a well shaft he fell into on February 1.
Hundreds of people watched the rescue mission unfold.
AFP via Getty Images
People stand next to tractors at nightfall as they observe a rescue mission of a 5-year-old boy who fell into a hole in the northern village of Ighran in Morocco's Chefchaouen province, Friday, Feb.  4, 2022 in Ighran.
Rescuers used heavy machinery to reach Rayan.
AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy

Bulldozers were brought in to dig next to the well, creating a huge trench parallel to the shaft. Workers then had to dig a horizontal tunnel through the rocky, sandy soil to connect the shaft where the child was stuck and extract him.

The final hours of the delicate operation required the workers to dig very slowly and by hand to avoid a collapse in the rocky, sandy and unstable soil. One engineer told a local television channel that they were digging just 20 centimeters, or about 7 inches, per hour.

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