Rescue operations are intensifying for five-year-old Rayan, who fell into a 100ft deep shaft three days ago, with drilling continuing in the village near Bab Berred in the northern province of Chefchaouen.
Moroccan rescuers are racing against time to rescue a young boy trapped in a deep well for nearly three days, in an operation that has gripped the kingdom with hundreds of thousands anxiously glued to live broadcasts .
Rescue operations intensified on Friday for five-year-old Rayan, who fell into a 100ft deep shaft on Tuesday as darkness fell with diggers digging up earth under spotlights to create a hole next to the narrow well.
“The rescue of the child is approaching,” government spokesman Mustapha Baitas said on Thursday.
“Our hearts are with the family, and we pray that he returns with them as soon as possible.”
مغاربة سقط الطفل ريان في بئر عمقه 60 متر في #شفشاون الى الٱن مرت 26 ساعة ولم يتم اخراجه بعد. و ما زالت المحاولات جارية لنقاذه فضلا وليس أمرا لنقف جميعا مع مع الطفل ريان ونسانده بتفعليل وسم #انقذوا_ريان قبل سنوات وقعت حادثة مثل هذه خارج المغرب جعلت العالم كله يتحرك وشكرا pic.twitter.com/jsx8UlgooJ
— 👤Elbaz Larbi👤 (@la__croi) February 2, 2022
#SaveRayan goes viral
The drama sparked an outpouring of sympathy online, with the Arabic hashtag #SaveRayan going viral across North Africa, including in neighboring Algeria.
Drilling in the village near Bab Berred in Morocco’s northern rural Chefchaouen province reached 27 meters, with “the hope of reaching 32 meters in the next few hours”, the Moroccan news agency reported. MAP.
The rescuers will then dig 3 meters horizontally “between the hole and the well to recover the child”, he specifies.
A medical team was dispatched to the scene to carry out the first checks and possible resuscitation once the boy was rescued.
Rescuers were able to send oxygen and water to the child through pipes, and a police helicopter is on standby to evacuate him to a nearby hospital.
Rayan’s father told the Le360 news site that he was fixing the well when the boy fell into it.
“I couldn’t sleep a wink all night,” he said.
His grandmother Laaziza told AFP news agency Rayan “is much loved here in the village, not just at home” by his family.
“I miss him, it’s been three nights,” she said.
— yasmina 𓃬 (@yasminaaaaa9) February 4, 2022
Chief lifeguard Abdelhabi Temrani said Al Oula television that the diameter of the well was less than 45 centimeters.
Baitas said the nature of the ground meant it was too dangerous to try to widen the hole, which meant major excavations around it were the only solution.
The programs of several Moroccan media are followed minute by minute by hundreds of thousands of Internet users waiting for information on the fate of the child.
Moroccan footballer and PSG star Achraf Hakimi mentioned the rescue efforts on social media, alongside emojis of a broken heart and hands clasped in prayer.
Manchester City’s Algerian star Riyad Mahrez also joined the chorus of solidarity, sharing a photo of Rayan on Facebook alongside the hashtag “Stay Strong”.
— Shifae🎨 (@sh1fae) February 3, 2022
The boy’s plight drew crowds of people to the operation site, putting pressure on rescuers operating under “difficult conditions”, Baitas said.
“We call on citizens to let the rescuers do their job and save this child,” he said.
The accident echoes a tragedy that occurred in Spain in early 2019 when a 2-year-old child died after falling into an abandoned well 25 centimeters wide and more than 70 meters deep.
Julen Rosello’s body was found after a search and rescue operation that lasted 13 days.
READ MORE: Vertical shaft drilled to save Spanish toddler in well