TN: 72-hours on, 3-yr-old boy remains stuck in borewell

Operation still underway to rescue the 2-year-old Sujith Wilson who fell into a 25-feet deep borewell in Nadukattupatti, Tiruchirappalli district Yesterday, the boy fell further down the borewell, currently stuck at 100 feet. (PTI PHoto)

The three-year-old boy, who fell into an abandoned borewell near here, is stuck at a depth of almost 100 feet over 72 hours after the incident occurred, as anxiety has risen over the child's well-being with rescue efforts hampered by rocky soil and rain.

As operations stretched into the fourth day, the sleepy village of Nadukattupatti about 40 km from here, is teeming with people from several neighbouring villages to witness the rescue of the boy who fell into the used farm borewell while playing near his house at 5.30 pm on Friday.

Rescuers have been engaged in digging another borewell since Sunday to reach an appropriate depth to get to the boy and now a heavy drilling machine of German make has been deployed to expedite the efforts.

Explaining the challenges involved, Commissioner of Revenue Administration J Radhakrishnan said without understanding the complexities involved questions were being raised about the rescue measures.

The child has fallen into an abandoned borewell the diameter of which is very narrow and the boy got trapped in rocky soil, he told reporters here. Initially, efforts were made to rescue the boy by using "clamping," technology involving tailor made equipment and that bid did not succeed, he said.

Parallely, another hole was being drilled since Sunday, he said, adding now a heavy drilling machine of German make from Larsen and Tubro with "tungsten carbide tipped teeth," has been deployed to speed up the effort.

Extra care needs to be taken in respect of speed while drilling since there are chances of the abandoned borewell getting closed completely in case of vibrations and this is a key challenge, he pointed out. Geologists, who were consulted, pointed out that the soil comprised hard rock of quartz and feldspar, he said.

"Standard operating procedures are followed and we are doing it professionally...the decision on rescue effort is taken based on experts' advice," he said. Monitoring through cameras indicate that the child is trapped at a depth of about 88 feet and some soil has fallen on him, the senior official said. The child is in a "stablilised location," and this point of space has been airlocked to prevent the boy from going further down.

"All technical efforts are in place to try and avoid soil getting loosened. The rescue operations will not be called off at any cost. There will be no let-up in the efforts. At the same time we don't want to give any false hope to the parents of the child," he said and added that they were being counselled.

National and State Disaster unit personnel, Fire and Rescue Services personnel are on stand by. In view of occasional mild showers, the location has been covered with tarpaulin sheets. Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, and his Cabinet colleagues are camping at the site.

Top government officials led by Radhakrishnan are overseeing the rescue efforts. Leaders of political parties including MDMK chief Vaiko and local Congress MP Jothimani are also at the spot.

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