Tragic end to Herculean rescue efforts. After a relentless five-day excavation operation to save the 5-year-old Moroccan child Rayan from the well, rescue and medical teams have evacuated the boy. However the boy was confirmed dead according to a statement from the Moroccan Royal Court soon after.
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“Following the tragic accident that claimed the life of the child Rayan Awram, King Mohammed VI made a phone call to Khaled Awram, and Wassima Khersheesh, the parents of the deceased, who passed away, after falling into a well,” read the statement from the Moroccan Royal Palace.
King Mohammed expressed his deepest condolences and sincere sympathy to the family of the deceased, praying to Allah Almighty to bestow his mercy on him and grant his family patience and solace.
Sheikh Mohammed offers condolences
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai tweeted: “Our deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of Rayan... to Moroccan people… and to all humanity that grieved over this loss.. May Allah bless his soul in eternal peace and grant us all patience and solace.”
Rayan declared dead. Moroccan royal court confirms 5-year old Rayan evacuated from the well is dead.
Rayan is being taken to the hospital, but there is no official information yet on his health condition.
Rescue teams have successfully evacuated Ryan after about 100 hours of being trapped in the well. An ambulance transports Ryan to the helicopter parked near the excavation site to take him to hospital
Rayan’s parents stand in front of the tunnel’s entrance, waiting for their son to be taken out.
The medical team is preparing Rayan so that they can get him out of the well through a stretcher: Moroccan media.
Rayan’s parents have entered the tunnel to see their son.
Rayan is found to be suffering from brain and lung injuries in addition to multiple fractures.
Rayan is suffering from multiple fractures, according to initial examinations by rescue doctors, reports Moroccan media.
Medical teams are getting ready to take Rayan out of the tunnel.
Unconfirmed media reports from the site say Rayan is unconscious but still alive. He is being taken care of by a medical team at the site. No official statement has been issued so far.
Rescue workers and bulldozer drivers leave the scene after medical team enters the tunnel.
An ambulance is seen approaching the site. A helicopter is also standing by to ferry Rayan to hospital. Ryan's father was asked to get into the ambulance.
Live video from the site shows a drone flying over the excavation site, and ambulance and medical staff are at the opening of the tunnel leading to Rayan.
Moroccan rescue teams reach Rayan, and there are only a few minutes left to get him out, after more than 90 hours of being inside a dry water hole.
Dubai: Rescue workers inched closer on Saturday to the 5-year-old boy Rayan who has been trapped for five days in a well in northern Morocco, a case that has gripped the country, reports said.
Rescuers have worked with bulldozers to cut a massive trench into the hill next to the well, leaving a gaping hole in the reddish earth.
Rayan accidentally fell about 32 metres (35 yards) down the tight, empty shaft near his home in the remote village of Ighrane in Chefchaouen province on Tuesday afternoon.
Moroccan rescuers worked through the night into Saturday, the fifth day of an increasingly urgent and nerve-wracking effort to rescue Rayan. By today's morning, they were digging horizontally towards the well, and installing PVC tubes to protect against landslides and get the boy out.
However, they were faced with a rock that hampered rescue operations for some time but successfully broke that rock and are now 1.8 meters away from the child. Security cameras have spotted the child lying on his side.
Dangerous mission in final stage
For the last four days since the accident, rescuers were delicately removing rocks on Saturday as they dug towards Rayan, a dangerous operation constantly imperilled by the threat of landslides.
On Friday, rescuers began carefully excavating a horizontal tunnel towards the child, sometimes being ordered out to stabilise the earth. The work grew more difficult as they encountered rocks between the trench and the well, a witness said.
A small rock delayed the process of reaching the child, who has been stranded for over 90 hours in a deep well. He fell into the well on Tuesday night, in a village in northern Morocco.
The rescuers are placing concrete tubes into the horizontal tunnel as they dig to allow them to pull Rayan to safety.
Rescuers fear for boy's life
However, media reports confirmed that the the boy is still alive and rock is located deep in the tunnel that was built to reach the child, as its demolition took three hours, noting that only two metres separated the rescue teams from the boy.
The complex, slow and risky earth-moving operation has gripped residents of the North African kingdom and sparked a huge wave of sympathy across the globe.
Rayan accidentally fell about 32 metres (100 feet) down the tight, empty shaft near his home in the remote village of Ighrane in Chefchaouen province on Tuesday afternoon.
Rescue crews, using bulldozers and front-end loaders, have dug almost all the way down but the final two metres are the most difficult because of the risk of landslides.
Rescue mission in pictures
There has been no information about the fate of the boy, but the more time that passes, the more fears arise over whether he will be recovered alive.
Overnight, crews manoeuvred a heavy pipe into position in the area.
"We're almost there," said one of the operation's leaders, Abdesalam Makoudi, adding "tiredness is kicking in, but the whole rescue team is hanging on."
Working through darkness
A glacial cold has gripped this mountainous and impoverished region of Rif, which is at an elevation of about 700 metres.
On Thursday Moroccan media reported that rescuers managed to deliver oxygen and water to the bottom of the well.
Thousands of people gathered around the site, surrounded by olive trees, where AFP reporters said the tension was palpable. Some applauded to encourage the rescuers.
The shaft, just 45 centimetres (18 inches) across, was too narrow to reach Rayan, and widening it was deemed too risky - so earth-movers dug a wide slope into the hill to reach him from the side.
The operation has made the landscape resemble a construction site. It involves engineers and topographers, and was made more complex by the mix of rocky and sandy soils.
Red-helmeted Civil Defence personnel have at times been suspended by rope, as if on a cliff face.
Working non-stop through the darkness, under powerful floodlights that gave a gloomy air to the scene, they are also digging a horizontal tunnel to reach the pocket where Rayan is, local authorities say.
'Moving a mountain'
"I keep up hope that my child will get out of the well alive," Rayan's father told public television 2M on Friday evening. "I thank everyone involved and those supporting us in Morocco and elsewhere."
The boy's mother told Moroccan media that Rayan had been playing nearby when he disappeared on Tuesday afternoon.
"The whole family went out to look for him then we realised that he'd fallen down the well," she said with tears in her eyes.
The drama has sparked an outpouring of sympathy online, with the Arabic hashtag #SaveRayan trending across North Africa.
"Rescuers are literally in the process of moving a mountain to save little #Rayan. I hope that their efforts will not be in vain and that those who prayed for him will see their prayers answered," one internet user wrote.
The boy's fate has attracted crowds of people to the site, where parked cars lined the roads around the village and supporters are camping.
Police reinforcements have been sent, and the swarm of onlookers has sometimes impeded the rescuers' efforts.
Authorities have called on the public to "let the rescuers do their job and save this child."
But one volunteer said he was there to help. "We've been here for three days. Rayan is a child of our region. We won't leave until he's out of the well," he said.
The accident echoes a tragedy in Spain in early 2019 when a two-year-old child died after falling into an abandoned well 25 centimetres wide and more than 70 metres deep.
Julen Rosello's body was recovered after a search and rescue operation that lasted 13 days.