Rescuers work to get Rayan out of a well into which he fell after 48 hours earlier, in the region of Chefchaouen near the city of Bab Berred. AFP
Gulf Today Report
A Moroccan official revealed today that a small rock delayed the process of reaching the child “Rayan”, who has been stranded for over 72 hours in a deep well. He fell into the well on Tuesday night, in a village in northern Morocco.
The official explained that the 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 even sparked sympathy in neighbouring Algeria, a regional rival.
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, but did not provide information about his condition.
Medical staff, including specialists in resuscitation, are on site to attend to the boy once he is pulled out, with a helicopter on standby to transport him to the nearest hospital.
AFP saw the machines working under floodlights throughout the night into Friday, to clear the area around the 32-metre (35-yard) deep well in the village near Bab Berred.
But the shaft, just 45 centimetres (18 inches) across, was too narrow for rescuers to reach the bottom.
On Thursday rescuers were able to send him oxygen and water via pipes, the MAP news agency said.
But since then authorities have not disclosed any more information on his condition.
On Friday, rescuers said they had dug down 28 meters and were preparing for a delicate operation to create a horizontal shaft to reach the boy.
The mother of the boy waits as authorities and firefighters work to get five-year-old Rayan out of a well. AFP
But they said there is a risk of a landslide. The operation is complex because of the nature of the soil, some of which is sandy while other parts are rocky.
"The child's rescue is approaching," government spokesman Mustapha Baitas said.
"Our hearts are with the family, and we are praying that he will back with them as soon as possible."
The boy's mother told Moroccan media that Rayan had been playing nearby when he disappeared on Tuesday afternoon.
Rayan's fate sparked an outpouring of sympathy online, with the Arabic hashtag #SaveRayan going viral across the Maghreb region. "The heart of every Moroccan is with this angel," one person wrote on Twitter.
The official MAP news agency said that there were numerous attempts to reach Spain early Friday and late Thursday. Those rescued were taken to the coastal cities of Nador and Ksar Sghir.
Morocco says that the Royal Navy has rescued about 330 migrants trying to cross the Strait of Gibraltar in unseaworthy craft.
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