Moroccan rescuers reach young Rayan, but too late
Ighran, Morocco, Feb 5 (EFE).- The team working for five days to rescue 5-year-old Rayan Oram from a well 32 meters (104 ft) deep reached their goal on Saturday, but the boy did not survive the ordeal, the Moroccan monarchy said.
King Mohammed VI “expressed his sincere condolences” during a telephone conservation with Rayan’s parents Saturday night, the royal household said in a statement, emphasizing that the monarch had ordered authorities to do everything necessary to save the boy.
Rayan fell down the well on Tuesday while playing near his family’s home in Ighran, a village in the northern province of Chefchaouen.
The statement also spoke of the king’s gratitude for the efforts of everyone involved in the rescue operation and for the solidarity Moroccans demonstrated with the Oram family, notably on social media, where many users adopted a photo of Rayan as their profile images.
People across North Africa and the wider world followed the story with great interest and concern.
The complex rescue operation entailed digging a vertical shaft to a depth of 32 meters and then tunneling horizontally to reach the trapped child, who fell down the well on Tuesday.
Abdelhadi Tamrani, head of the rescue monitoring committee, informed the media early Saturday that work to complete the 5.5-meter tunnel was progressing at a slow pace keeping in mind the delicate nature of the soil in Ighran.
Tamrani said that the team had to be pulled out periodically when the land began caving in.
Though rescuers had been able to drop food and water to the boy, authorities said as the operation entered the final stretch that Rayan’s physical condition remained unknown.
A helicopter of the Royal Gendarmerie and an ambulance with equipment for resuscitation were waiting at the well to render assistance. EFE