72 hours on, 2-year-old still trapped in borewell

Rescue operation underway to retrieve a boy Sujith who fell into an open borewell on Friday, in Tiruchirapalli, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Seventy-two hours have passed since two-year-old Sujith Wilson accidentally fell into an open borewell near Tiruchirapalli in Central Tamil Nadu. Despite massive efforts by a rescue mission led by NDRF and use of hi-tech drilling machines, the child has not yet been lifted out of the nearly 600-feet borewell in which he is understood to be trapped at around 90 feet.

As the rescue operations entered the fourth day on Monday, a heavy drilling machine made in Germany was deployed to drill a parallel borewell to rescue the child, but rocky soil and incessant rain hampered the efforts being overseen by three state ministers at the Nadukattupatti village near Manaparai, 360 kms from here.

Two-year-old Sujith Wilson fell into a borewell that was uncovered in the land owned by his family on Friday. The child was lifted and brought back to about 20 feet on Saturday morning, but he fell again into the borewell and is currently trapped at 80 feet.

Rescuers found it tough to drill the parallel borewell due to the rocky nature of the soil and finally resorted to using the German-made machine. As the nation prayed for the safe return of Sujith, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami regarding to the rescue efforts to save the child.

The rescue spot also turned into a picnic for politicians with leaders from every political party visiting the area in Manaparai disturbing the mission. Since the area is known for hard rocks, it is becoming increasingly difficult for rescuers to cut into the rocks and make an alternate way to reach the child – it took more than 12 hours to dig 50 feet and another 30 feet to go to reach the spot where the child is believed to have been trapped.

“My prayers are with the young and brave Sujith Wilson. Spoke to CM @EPSTamilNadu regarding the rescue efforts underway to save Sujith. Every effort is being made to ensure that he is safe,” Modi tweeted.

Heavy-duty drilling machines and equipments have been deployed and experts from NLC, ONGC, L&T and NIT Tiruchirapalli are at site guide the rescuers. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said three ministers have been deputed along with Fire and Rescue services, NDRF and SDRF.

“Further assistance would be sought depending on the status of the rescue efforts,” Palaniswami said. Commissioner of Revenue Administration J Radhakrishnan said rescuers have been digging another parallel shaft since Sunday to reach an appropriate depth to get to the boy.

Initially, efforts were made to rescue the boy by using "clamping," technology involving tailor-made equipment, but that failed, he said.

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