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Morocco: operation to save Rayan, 5-year-old boy stuck in well, reaches final stage

Bystanders watch as Moroccan emergency teams work to rescue five-year-old boy Rayan from a well shaft he fell into on February 1.   -  
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FADEL SENNA/AFP or licensors


Moroccan rescuers’ race to free a five-year-old boy from a well has reached final stages in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Moroccan rescuers Saturday continue their marathon effort to rescue Rayan, a five-year-old boy trapped down a well for a fourth night. As the sun went down on Friday evening, the rescue team worked under floodlights to dig a three-metre tunnel to safely extract the boy.

The operation to retrieve him from the depths of the earth is complex and risky. Indeed, the mix of rocky and sandy soils increases the risk of a landslide.

"We're almost there. We've been working non-stop for three days and tiredness is kicking in, but the whole rescue team is hanging on," said one of the operation's leaders, Abdesalam Makoudi.

On Tuesday, Rayan fell some 32 metres (100 feet) down the empty well in the remote village of Ighrane in Chefchaouen province, located in the North of the Kingdom. The boy's mother told Moroccan media that Rayan had been playing nearby when he disappeared on Tuesday afternoon.

"The whole family went out to look for him then we realised that he'd fallen down the well," she said with tears in her eyes.

The rescue teams have been working around the clock, turning the landscape into a construction site. To support them, thousands of people gathered around the site of the accident.

Local sources reported that rescuers managed to deliver oxygen and water to the bottom of the well and could monoitor the child’s health condition thanks to a remote camera.

The drama has sparked an outpouring of sympathy online, with the hashtag #SaveRayan going viral across North Africa.

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