Rayan Awram, five, has been trapped at the bottom of a well in northern Morocco for five days. Rescue teams have been working around the clock to free the young lad and are said to be only a meter away from him
Rescue workers are just a meter away from the boy who has been trapped at the bottom of a well in Morocco for three days.
Workers with mechanical excavators carried out the delicate and dangerous operation to rescue five-year-old Rayan Awram, but were constantly stopped by rocks and threatened by a landslide.
Rayan’s life was at stake after he fell into a 32-metre-deep well in the hills near Chefchaouen, near the Rif Mountains, on Tuesday.
It is currently not known whether the youngster is still alive and how badly he is injured.
But rescuers were able to catch a glimpse of the boy after lowering a camera on a rope, which captured images of him with dried blood on his face.
Though food was sent down along with oxygen and water hoses, it’s unclear if he was able to use them.
Concerned locals have gathered with the boy’s family around the rescue site, where they have sung “God is Greatest” and other religious songs.
It is “impossible” to say if the boy is still alive after spending so many days at the bottom of the deep well, medics said.
“We hope we won’t hit any rocks,” lead rescuer Abdelhadi Thamrani told reporters on Saturday afternoon while there were still a few meters to dig.
State television later reported that rescuers were 90 cm (35 inches) from Rayan and that they had located his position from the access tunnel they were digging in a ditch cut in the hillside.
Mr Thamrani said it was difficult to determine the child’s health as a camera dropped in the well showed him lying on his side, but he added: “We hope we will save him alive.” .
It was also unclear how long the digging would take due to rock-related difficulties and the risk of landslides, he said.
Images in Moroccan media have shown Rayan huddled at the bottom of the disused well, which narrows at the top as it descends from 45 cm (18 inches) wide, preventing rescuers from descending.
Workers in helmets and safety vests carried stretchers, ropes, tools and other equipment into a trench they had dug parallel to the well.
AFP via Getty Images)
On Friday, they began carefully digging a horizontal tunnel toward the child, sometimes with orders to stabilize the earth.
The work became more difficult when they encountered rocks between the ditch and the well, a witness said.
The rescuers place concrete and steel pipes in the horizontal tunnel as they dig so they can get Rayan to safety.
“People who love us spare no effort to save my child,” the child’s father said in a tired, barely audible voice as he watched rescue efforts Friday night, wearing a traditional hooded wool robe against the cold.
“We pray that this will be the day of his salvation,” he said.
Hundreds of villagers waited nearby for news as the rescue operation continued.
A male relative of the boy told Reuters TV that the family first realized he was missing when they heard muffled crying and lowered a phone with the lights and camera on to locate him.
“He yelled ‘pick me up,'” the relative said.
The hilly region around Chefchaouen is bitterly cold in winter – with temperatures as low as 3°C.