Rayan Awram dead: Heartbroken rescuers pull lifeless body of boy, 5, from 100ft Morocco well where he was trapped for 100hrs
Morocco’s king confirmed the tragic news tonight that Rayan, five, did not survive after being trapped in an 18-inch space below ground since midday on Tuesday.
Moroccan King Mohammed VI expressed his condolences to the boys parents in a statement released by the palace.
Rescuers immediately launched an astonishing effort to free him after the little one fell, and Rayan was brought out of the shaft this evening.
Officials had warned there was “no certainty” he was still alive – and it was “impossible” to know more until he was freed.
It had been tentatively suggested tonight that the boy would live.
However, it’s now known that the little lad didn’t make it.
Huge cheers went up as Rayan was brought out on a stretcher and put into a waiting ambulance less than half an hour ago.
He was then moved into a helicopter waiting at the scene to transport him to a hospital in a larger city.
People around the world who have been gripped by the mission immediately celebrated.
But their joy was short-lived after the tragedy was revealed.
Crews had lowered a camera, oxygen and water down a rope to reach the injured youngster during the rescue. It’s not known if he was able to use them.
Heartbreaking photos showed him bleeding at the bottom of the shaft.
massive trench was dug into the hill next to the well, leaving a gaping hole in the reddish earth. By Saturday morning they were digging horizontally towards the well, and installing PVC tubes to protect against landslides and get the boy out.
A glacial cold has gripped this mountainous and impoverished region of Rif, which is at an elevation of about 700 metres. As time went on, fears persisted over whether Rayan would have been recovered alive.
‘We’re almost there,’ said one of the operation’s leaders, Abdesalam Makoudi, earlier on Saturday, adding: ‘Tiredness is kicking in, but the whole rescue team is hanging on.’
On Saturday, experts used a rope to send oxygen and water down to the boy as well as a camera to monitor him, but did not provide information about his condition.
On Friday, camera footage from the frantic rescue operation showed the boy lying at the bottom of the shaft, and he appeared to be breathing.
‘I pray and beg God that he comes out of that well alive and safe,’ his mother Wassima Kharchich told local television station 2M. ‘Please God, ease my pain and his, in that hole of dust. The whole family went out to look for him then we realised that he’d fallen down the well,’ she added, with tears in her eyes.
His father, who said he was repairing the well when the boy fell into it, was pictured nervously watching the rescue mission late on Friday night and into today.
‘I keep up hope that my child will get out of the well alive,’ Rayan’s father told 2M on Friday evening. ‘I thank everyone involved and those supporting us in Morocco and elsewhere.’
Scores of townspeople and others gathered to help and watch the rescue efforts. Nationwide, Moroccans took to social media to offer their hopes for the boy’s survival, using the hashtag #SaveRayan which has brought global attention to the rescue efforts.
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 made the landscape resemble a construction site. It involved 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.