INDIA – A major rescue operation is underway in India after a two-year-old boy fell into a deep, narrow well in a village in Tamil Nadu state.
Officials said the attempts to save toddler Sujith Wilson were entering the final stages early on Monday afternoon, nearly 65 hours after he went missing on Friday.
Sujith was out playing near his home when he fell into an abandoned borehole, a common hazard in rural India despite growing calls for strict punishment of those who leave such wells poorly covered.
The child initially became trapped at a depth of only around 30ft, but later slipped down to 100ft. The well is believed to go down as far as 550ft in total.
Officials have sent down a camera that recorded Sujith breathing, and on Monday said the boy had passed out but was believed to be still alive. A continuous supply of oxygen is being pumped down into the well.
Huge drilling equipment has been borrowed for the rescue from the Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), which is digging a parallel hole around 10ft from the existing borehole.
A first dig had to be abandoned after it hit a patch of dense rock. Rescuers hope to drill down 110ft and then send a rescue worker down the shaft to reach the boy.
Previous attempts to bring the Sujith out using a rope failed. Local media also reported that the boy’s mother, Kalairani, was stitching a cloth bag for rescuers to use to bring Sujith out of the well.
And a widely-shared video posted to social media shows Kalairani at the mouth of the borehole, calling out and telling him not to cry.
On Monday, prime minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter: “My prayers are with the young and brave Sujith Wilson … Every effort is being made to ensure he is safe.”
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