Centimeter by centimeter, the rescuers had to dig their way to little Rayan († 5), who stayed for five days in a 32 meter deep well in Morocco …
On Saturday afternoon, they were only a few meters from the little boy. But the ground was so rocky that the rescuers made slow progress. One of the helpers, Ali Sahrawi, dug the last meters by hand. This was the only way he could prevent the boy from being buried under rocks by shaking.
“We tried very hard and the stones could have fallen on us, but we didn’t give up. We didn’t want to leave poor Rayan alone in the dark well and tried everything,” Sahrawi told a Moroccan newspaper.
But he came too late: Rayan died in the well. It was not until 9:33 p.m. that rescuers carried his body out of the pit and took it to an ambulance. The Moroccan royal family officially announced the death of the five-year-old on Saturday evening.
King Mohammed VI (58) phoned Khaled Oram and Wasima Kharshish, the parents of the deceased, expressing his “deepest and sincere condolences”.
Around the world, people with the family had feared for the five-year-old. Despite the freezing cold, thousands of people gathered near the scene of the accident in a village around 150 kilometers north of the city of Fez to witness the action.
French President Emmanuel Macron also took part in the drama surrounding Rayan: “Tonight I would like to tell little Rayan’s family and the Moroccan people that we share their grief,” he wrote on Facebook.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also expressed his condolences. Bennet tweeted: “On behalf of myself and the Government and people of Israel, I address the family of the late child Rayan, the people of Morocco and His Majesty King Mohammed VI. our deepest condolences.”
Rayan fell “in a moment of inattention”
Rayan fell into the 32 meter deep hole near the village of Bab Berred in the province of Chefchaouen on Tuesday. The accident happened “in a moment of inattention”, Rayan’s father Khaled described in local media. He just wanted to repair the well.
Since then, the rescuers had worked tirelessly to rescue Rayan. First, they slowly lowered a camera to look for the boy. Upon discovering that he was alive and believed to have only a minor head injury, they lowered water and food to him.
Since Friday evening, helpers have been digging a horizontal tunnel at a depth of around 32 meters in order to reach Rayan via a hole dug parallel to the well. Local media reported that a rock blocked the path to the boy and had delayed work for several hours.
Rescuers built concrete pipes into the horizontal tunnel to stabilize the earth. On Friday evening, the helpers had already had to interrupt the action for fear of a landslide.