A three-year-old girl who had slipped into a 500 feet deep pit behind her house in Tamil Nadu, died on Sunday barely a few hours after she was rescued following a 15-hour-long operation.
Doctors at a local government hospital said that "lack of oxygen was the likely cause of the death of the child."
Dr Udayakumar of the hospital said post-mortem was being performed to ascertain the exact cause of death.
The child, named Madhumita, fell into the pit on Saturday at Vilupuram village, around 160 km from capital Chennai.
The news of the child's ordeal had moved the state to shock and tears and many had offered prayers for her safety.
Madhumita's father Ramchandran, a farmer, had got the bore well pit dug behind the house.
The pit was covered by some sticks and a gunny sack after work ended on Friday. On Saturday morning, the minor child walked over the pit without realising the danger and just disappeared into the ground.
Her cries for help brought her father, mother and neighbours to the pit. Immediately, the father informed the local police.
Fire-fighting personnel and police rushed to the spot with men and material to rescue her. Seven earth movers were brought in to dig a parallel pit to reach her.
District fire officer S Ganeshan, who led the rescue operation, said that the incident occurred at 7.30 am and by 10 am the full rescue team was in place.
After 15 hours of painfully slow progress, they reached her but by that time the lack of oxygen had already taken its toll.
"Finally at around 3 am. we reached the girl. Station house officer Nageswaran brought the girl out and there was still a slight pulse," the fire chief said. Immediately the waiting ambulances rushed the girl to local government hospital. However, at around 7 am, the doctors declared the girl dead.
Police on Sunday filed a case against her father but no arrest has been made so far.