Moroccan boy pulled out of deep well after 5 days is dead

Sheikh Mohammed expresses condolences on the death of Rayan



The body of 5-year-old Rayan, wrapped in foil, is retrieved after he fell into a hole and was stuck there for several days, in the village of Ighran in Morocco's Chefchaouen province. — AP
The body of 5-year-old Rayan, wrapped in foil, is retrieved after he fell into a hole and was stuck there for several days, in the village of Ighran in Morocco's Chefchaouen province. — AP

By Agencies

Published: Sun 6 Feb 2022, 1:01 AM

Last updated: Sun 6 Feb 2022, 1:49 AM

Morocco’s king said the 5-year-old boy who was trapped in a well for days has died. Rescuers pulled the boy out of the deep well after several days' effort.

Moroccan King Mohammed VI expressed his condolences to the boy’s parents in a statement released by the palace.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw the boy wrapped in a yellow blanket after he emerged from a tunnel dug specifically for the rescue. No details were available about his condition.

His parents had been escorted to an ambulance before the boy, Rayan, emerged. His plight had captured worldwide attention.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, condoled the death of Rayan in a tweet.

"Our sincere condolences and sympathy to the family of the child Rayan.. and to the brotherly Moroccan people.. and to all humanity that grieved for his loss," Sheikh Mohammed said in a tweet

Online messages of support and concern for the boy, Rayan, poured in from around the world as the rescue efforts dragged through the night.

Rescuers used a rope to send oxygen and water down to the boy as well as a camera to monitor him. By Saturday morning, the head of the rescue committee, Abdelhadi Temrani, said: “It is not possible to determine the child’s condition at all at this time. But we hope to God that the child is alive.”

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Rayan fell into a 32-metre (105-feet) well located outside his home in the village of Ighran in Morocco’s mountainous northern Chefchaouen province on Tuesday evening.

For three days, search crews used bulldozers to dig a parallel ditch. Then on Friday, they started excavating a horizontal tunnel to reach the trapped boy. Morocco’s MAP news agency said that experts in topographical engineering were called upon for help.

“The diggers encountered a hard rock on their way, and were therefore very careful to avoid any landslides or cracks,” he said. “It took about five hours to get rid of the rock because the digging was slow and was done in a careful way to avoid creating cracks in the hole from below, which could threaten the life of the child as well as the rescue workers.”

The work has been especially difficult because of fears that the soil surrounding the well could collapse on the boy.

Medical staff, including specialists in resuscitation, were on site to attend to the boy once he is pulled out, with a helicopter on standby to transport him to the nearest hospital.

The village of about 500 people is dotted with deep wells, many used for irrigating the cannabis crop that is the main source of income for many in the poor, remote and arid region of Morocco’s Rif Mountains. Most of the wells have protective covers.

The exact circumstances of how the boy fell in the well are unclear.

Nationwide, Moroccans took to social media to offer their hopes for the boy’s survival, using the hashtag (hash)SaveRayan which has brought global attention to the rescue efforts.


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