Need 12 hours, says official on rescue of 2-year-old stuck in Tamil Nadu borewell
The operation to rescue a two-year-old boy who fell into a borewell in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirappalli on Friday will take another 12 hours, a government official said on Monday morning.
Police said Sujith Wilson fell into the dry borewell while he has playing near his house around 5.30 pm on Friday in Nadukkattupatti village, about 350 km from Chennai.
J Radhakrishnan, Tamil Nadu Commissioner for Revenue Administration, admitted that the rescue efforts so far have not been satisfactory.
“The rocky terrain is posing a challenge in drilling a parallel tunnel. The rescue operation may take another 12 hours,” he said.
According to officials coordinating the rescue, the child got stuck at 30 feet inside the borewell initially, but he slipped further 90 feet on Sunday evening. They say the hole could be around 600 feet deep.
The officials said the current plan is to drill a parallel tunnel, wide enough for rescuers to enter, and build a hole sideways to reach the boy.
Till Monday noon only around 50 feet of drilling was complete and rain had hampered the rescue efforts, they added.
“Piercing the rocks and speeding up the drilling would affect the borewell, posing grave danger to the trapped child,” said Tamil Nadu Health and Family Welfare Minister C Vijayabhaskar, who has been camping at Nadukattupatti along with his cabinet colleagues, Vellamandi Natarajan and Valarmathi.
The minister said the child’s condition is being monitored with a thermal camera.
Congress MP Jothimani Sennimalai, who is also camping at the site, said rescue efforts started very late. “There is absence of a concerted effort,” she said.
The State Disaster Rescue Force (SDRF) and National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF) joined the rescue on Saturday evening.
The operations were hampered on Sunday when a vehicle carrying a drilling rig of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) broke down. Another rig was then brought in from Larsen & Toubro (L&T).
Radhakrishnan denied allegations of delay by the government. “The Trichy district collector and superintendent of police are at the spot along with 270 personnel who are engaged in the massive operation,” he said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted about the incident and expressed concern. “While the nation celebrates Deepavali, in Tamil Nadu a race against time is underway to save baby Surjeeth, who has been trapped in a borewell since Friday. I pray that he will be rescued and reunited with his distraught parents at the earliest,” Gandhi tweeted.
Tamil superstar Rajinikanth said he is praying for the child’s safety while actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan hoped for Sujith’s well being and added that keeping borewells open should be considered a crime.