Boy, 5, Doesn't Survive Fall Into 100-Foot Well

Rescuers in Morocco reached Rayan Oram after 4 days
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2022 11:15 AM CST
Updated Feb 5, 2022 4:50 PM CST
Race Is On to Save Boy Who Plunged 100 Feet Into Well
Concerned residents watch the attempt to rescue a 5-year-old boy who fell into a hole near the town of Bab Berred near Chefchaouen, Morocco, on Thursday.   (AP Photo)

Update: A 5-year-old boy who was trapped in a well in northern Morocco for four days has died. Rescuers had pulled Rayan Oram, wrapped in a yellow blanket, out on Saturday night, the AP reports, while his parents waited in an ambulance. The crowd cheered as rescuers emerged from the well with the boy, per the BBC. But a short time later, the palace issued a statement saying King Mohammed VI had called Rayan's parents to offer his condolences. Our original story from Thursday follows:

A 5-year-old boy went with his father to repair a 100-foot-deep well in northern Morocco and ended up falling in, per AFP. The country's Civil Protection Directorate has been leading efforts to rescue the boy named Rayan—whom a smartphone camera showed to be alive and conscious, though with blood across his face from an apparent head injury—since Tuesday afternoon, the BBC reports. A crowd has gathered at the scene near Bab Berred, northern Chefchaouen province, while thousands of people have been watching rescue footage online.

"The problem of this rescue is that the hole diameter is very, very small," about 10 inches, Mohamed Yassin El Quahabi, of the Chefchaouen Association of Caving and Mountain Activities, told the BBC. El Quahabi, who's assisting with the rescue, said the gap narrows at a depth of about 90 feet, further complicating matters. Two attempts to lower a rescuer to the boy failed, per Gulf News. Government rep Mustapha Baitas said Thursday that the soil around the hole made it too dangerous to widen, so five bulldozers are digging next to the shaft, per AFP.

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They've been able to reach a depth of 62 feet, per the BBC. "The child's rescue is approaching," Baitas said, per AFP. "Our hearts are with the family, and we are praying that he will back with them as soon as possible." A helicopter is reportedly prepared to rush the boy to a hospital once he's free. Food, water, and an oxygen mask have already been lowered into the shaft, as well as the smartphone on a rope. The resulting footage was shared widely on social media under an Arabic hashtag translating to #SaveRayan. "The heart of every Moroccan is with this angel," reads a Twitter comment. (More rescue stories.)

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