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Moroccan boy trapped in well dies

Epic rescue operation that lasted for days captivated audiences globally

King of Morocco Mohammed VI has expressed his condolences by phone to the bereaved parents of a five-year-old boy, who fell into a 32-meter-deep (104ft) well earlier this week. The child died before rescuers could reach him on Saturday evening.

The drama, which captivated audiences both in the North African nation and abroad, began on Tuesday when Rayan Awram’s parents found their son trapped in a narrow shaft, and contacted authorities. Rayan’s father later told local media that he was repairing the well at the time and “took his eyes off” his son for a moment before the accident occurred.

Two rescue groups, including topographical engineers, took turns to work around the clock to save the boy. Five bulldozers were initially used to dig a vertical opening alongside the well. On Friday, rescuers set about digging a side tunnel to reach Rayan.

Their efforts were hindered by the unstable nature of the soil at the location.

While the operation was underway, rescuers managed to send some food and water down the well using a tube. However, it was not clear if the boy was actually able to consume them.

A huge crowd of journalists, volunteers and onlookers had gathered around the site, with rescue efforts being live-streamed.

On Thursday, rescuers lowered a camera into the shaft, and at that point Rayan was still alive and conscious.

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The hashtag #SaveRayan in Arabic and English gained momentum on social media, with world leaders and ordinary people alike wishing the Moroccan boy well.

On Saturday morning, the head of the rescue committee, Abdelhadi Temrani, stated that it was not “possible to determine the child’s condition at all at this time.” According to him, rescuers had just two more meters to dig; however, they had to proceed with caution for fear of landslides.

Rayan had spent more than four days in the well before rescuers managed to retrieve his lifeless body on Saturday. The boy had reportedly suffered from brain and lung trauma, as well as multiple fractures.

Distraught rescue workers and onlookers got emotional when it became clear that the boy had not made it out alive.

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