Snag hits rescue operation for child trapped in Punjab borewell

A technical snag on Sunday hit the massive operation to rescue a two-year-old boy who fell into a 150-foot-deep abandoned borewell four days ago in a village in Punjab’s Sangrur district, officials said here.

The officials said it would take two-three hours to resume the operation. Still digging of 10-12 feet is required to reach the child.

“No digging has been carried out for the past four hours owing to tough geological conditions. Experts are on the job to insert a new digging rig in the well and it will take another two to three hours for the operation to resume,” a state government official overseeing the rescue operation told IANS.

A movement in his body was noticed at 5 a.m. on Saturday, almost 40 hours after the incident.

A parallel tunnel is being dig to reach the child, Fatehveer Singh, who is turning two on June 10, and is believed to be stuck at a depth of 110 feet in the borewell that has a nine-inch diameter, officials said.

The parallel tunnel still needs digging of 10-12 feet and it is being done manually as mechanical digging may lead to caving in of a large nearby portion, a rescuer told IANS on phone.

After digging the parallel tunnel, a passage to create access to the child would be made through another horizontal tunnel, he said.

Adequate supply of oxygen inside the well is being provided and a camera is being used to monitor the child. His movements are being monitored regularly, Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori told reporters on Saturday.

“There is some swelling on his hands, which indicates the child is conscious, he added.

The child fell into the man-made structure that was covered with cement bags on Thursday at around 4 p.m., his mother said. She appealed to the public to pray for the survival of her son.

The rescue team, comprising 26 members of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Indian Army with district administration staff, has been involved in the day-and-night operation at Bhagwanpura in Sunam subdivision.

An attempt was made earlier to pull out the child with the help of a rope. He has been tied with a rope to prevent him from slipping down, a rescuer said.

The NRDF said this is one of toughest operations as the depth of the well is considerable.

The borewell has been abandoned for over seven years. This was the second such incident in the area in less than three months.

On March 22, a one-and-a-half-year-old boy, who fell into a 70-foot narrow borewell in Haryana’s Hisar district, was rescued after a 48-hour operation.

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