The child, named Rayan, fell more than 30 meters through the well’s opening on Tuesday, sparking a huge rescue operation in Chefchaouen, northern Morocco
A five-year-old boy has tragically died after being pulled free from a well after an arduous four-day rescue mission.
The child, named Rayan, plunged more than 30 meters through the well’s opening on Tuesday as he played nearby.
The world watched on anxiously as rescuers mounted a desperate mission to bring the little boy to safety in Chefchaouen, northern Morocco.
Video from the scene shows a large convoy of emergency workers and volunteers carrying the little boy to an ambulance after he was finally freed from the bottom of the well.
His rescue initially sparked a huge outpouring of joy, but devastating reports soon confirmed that he had not survived.
TV network 2M reports that King Mohammed VI had called Rayan’s parents to offer his condolences.
The monarch had been closely following the rescue effort, but was informed of its heartbreaking conclusion, the network stated.
Hundreds joined efforts to save Rayan as news of his plight spread, and medics were on hand as teams got closer to him.
Workers with mechanical diggers carried out the delicate and dangerous operation, but were constantly delayed by rocks and imperiled by the threat of landslide.
Anxious locals gathered with Rayan’s family around the rescue site, where they sang “god is greatest” as they prayed for good news.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Pictures on Moroccan media earlier showed Rayan huddled at the bottom of the disused well, which narrows as it descends from 45 cm (18 inches) wide at the top, preventing rescuers from getting down.
Workers in helmets and high-visibility vests carried stretchers, ropes and other equipment down into a trench they dug parallel to the well.
The effort to save Rayan has gripped people across Morocco and crowds gathered in a vigil around the well in the village of Ighran to watch the rescue effort.
Many others were following the saga on television in households and cafes across the country.
“People who love us are sparing no effort to save my child,” said the child’s father in a tired, barely audible voice, as he
stood watching rescue efforts on Friday night, wearing a traditional hooded woolen robe against the cold.
“We pray this will be the day of his rescue,” he said.
Rayan is believed to have been playing close to the well when he vanished.
His mother told Moroccan media earlier this week: “The whole family went out to look for him then we realized that he’d fall down the well.”
AFP via Getty Images)
A male relative of the boy told Reuters TV that the family had first realized he was missing when they heard muffled crying and lowered a phone with its light and camera on to locate him.
“He was crying ‘lift me up’,” the relative said.
Abdesalam Makoudi, who helped lead the rescue operation, said earlier: “We’re almost there.
“Tiredness is kicking in, but the whole rescue team is hanging on.”
We’ll be bringing you the very latest updates, pictures and video on this breaking news story.