[PHOTOS] What Happened To The 5-Year-Old Moroccan Boy Who Fell Into A 32M-Deep Well

Rescuers lowered food, water, and oxygen to the boy as excavators raced against time to reach him.

Cover image via AFP/Al Arabiya & The Sun

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The world is mourning the death of five-year-old Rayan Oram, who was trapped in a 32m-deep shaft in the hills near Chefchaouen in northern Morocco, despite an elaborate four-day operation to rescue him

The tragic incident occurred last Tuesday, 1 February, when the boy's father was repairing the well close to their family home

According to BBC, Khaled Oram told local North African media that his son had fallen down the dry well at "that one moment I took my eyes off him" and added that he "has not slept a wink" since the ordeal began.

A relative said the family first realised that Rayan was missing when they heard his muffled crying around the well. They finally located him inside the hole in the ground with the help of a phone with its flashlight and camera on.

"He was crying 'lift me up'," the relative told Reuters.

The hole that Rayan fell into.

Image via Al Jazeera English (YouTube)

The child had plunged 32m down a 45cm narrow hole that tapered as it went deeper

AP reported that the village is dotted with many such wells, which are used for irrigating cannabis crop that is a main source of income for the poor, remote region.

Most of the wells have protective covers. The exact circumstances of how the boy fell into the well remain unclear.

Nonetheless, the narrow structure made it impossible for the family to descend directly to save him.

Image via The Sun

The rescue effort was a delicate operation and a race against time

The boy was alive and conscious, but the hilly region is known to be bitterly cold in winter and the extent of his injuries were unknown, with captured images showing dried blood across his face.

Rescuers lowered food, water, and oxygen through a tube to the boy as they figured out how to retrieve him.

However, the mission was hampered by fears of a landslide. Government spokesman Mustapha Baitas said the nature of the soil meant widening the hole was too dangerous, meaning a major excavation beside it was the only solution, reported Al Jazeera.

Image via The Sun

For three days, rescue crews used bulldozers to dig a parallel hole to the depth of the well

Then on Friday, 4 February, they started digging a horizontal tunnel manually to reach the trapped boy.

Despite being less than 2m away, the work was slow and difficult because of fears that the soil surrounding the well could collapse on the boy as well as the rescue workers.

As the efforts dragged on, the child's fate drew an outpour of sympathy and support from all around the world.

Moroccans took to social media to offer hope for the boy's survival, where the hashtag #SaveRayan trended on Twitter.

Meanwhile, hundreds of villagers also gathered at the scene to wait with bated breath with Rayan's parents.

Image via NBC News
Image via AFP/Al Arabiya

Unfortunately, Rayan was found dead as rescuers cleared away the final handfuls of dirt to reach him on Saturday night, 5 February

According to AFP, the crowds that were singing and chanting with hope were in shock after news spread of the boy's death.

"The silence is terrible this morning in the village," a relative said.

The news was announced by a royal statement, after King Mohammed VI called Rayan's parents with his condolences.

The boy's body, wrapped in a yellow blanket after being carried out from the tunnel, was taken to a military hospital in Rabat. His parents were escorted in another ambulance.

Messages of condolences and support for the family has continued to fill social media after the tragic conclusion to the rescue operation.

Rayan's parents leaving after their son's body is taken away by ambulance.

Image via EPA/BBC

In 2018, the world also waited anxiously as rescuers carried out a delicate plan to save 13 boys stuck in a 10km-long cave in Thailand:

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