Rescue op to pull out Tamil Nadu toddler from borewell stopped
The rescue effort to pull out the two-year-old boy, who fell into a 600 feet abandoned borewell near Trichy in Tamil Nadu on Friday, had to be suspended after a drilling rig could not reach the site, officials said late on Saturday.
Rescuers had to stop the operation to reach Surjith Wilson, which is on for more than 30 hours now, after the vehicle carrying the rig developed a snag 15km from the accident spot in Nadukattupatti village near Manapparai town, about 370km from Chennai.
The rig was requisitioned from the public sector giant Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to speed up the efforts to rescue the trapped toddler, who has now slipped from the initial 25ft to 100ft.
Officials said another rig from Neyveli Lignite Corporation in Neyveli is on the way.
As an interim measure, the rescue teams are making efforts to prevent Wilson from slipping into the well further, which is showing signs of caving in.
“Digging a parallel but wider 110 ft tunnel with the ONGC rig was planned. It will take three to four hours to complete the tunnel. Three rescue personnel are ready to get into the tunnel and bring the child,” Tamil Nadu health minister Dr C Vijayabaskar, who is supervising the rescue mission, said while speaking to reporters.
Wilson, the second child of his parents Britto Arockiaraj and Kala Mary, was playing when he fell into the borewell, dug for agricultural purposes in the farmland adjoining their house. The well was abandoned as there was no water in it.
The thermal camera secured from Chennai’s Anna University has shown the boy breathing, the medical team stationed at the spot said. Oxygen is being pumped inside the tubewell, it said.
Officials are taking turns to assist in the rescue operation, which gathered steam after the arrival of the personnel of the State Disaster Rescue Force (SDRF) and National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF).
They joined the six teams already engaged in the marathon exercise which began around 6.30pm on Friday.
Initially, Trichy’s superintendent of police Zia Ul Haq expressed confidence that the child, then trapped at a depth of 25 ft, would be rescued within an hour. But, it has turned out to be a huge challenge.
So far 10 attempts have been made, including four to lift the toddler through a rope with a knot, but they have proved futile. Incessant drizzle in the area has also hampered the efforts.
The latest incident has again brought to the fore the dangers of uncovered borewells as many have fallen to their deaths into them. A two-year-old boy died after he was stuck inside a borewell for nearly 110 hours in Punjab’s Sangrur in June this year.