May 22, 2022

Rayan, stuck at the bottom of a well in Morocco: what we know about the rescue operations

A third night spent more than 30 m deep. Rescuers continued to fight against time overnight from Thursday to Friday to try to save five-year-old Rayan, stranded in a deep well in a village in northern Morocco since Tuesday afternoon, a tragedy that holds the kingdom in suspense.

What happened ?

The little boy accidentally fell on Tuesday into a dry well 32 m deep, narrow and difficult to access, dug near the family residence in a village not far from the locality of Bab Berred, in the province of Chefchaouen (north of the Morocco). “In a moment of inattention, the little one fell into the well that I was repairing. I couldn’t sleep a wink all night,” Rayan’s father testified to the Le360 news site. “Rayan is very loved here in the village, not just at home, I miss him, it’s been three nights,” his septuagenarian grandmother, Laaziza, told AFP.

Where are the searches?

Mobilized for more than 48 hours, the rescue teams could not descend directly into the well because “its diameter does not exceed 45 cm”, Abdelhabi Temrani, head of the rescue operation, told public television Al. Wow. The rescuers also thought “to widen the diameter of the well but it was not possible because of the nature of the earth which could lead to a landslide”, detailed the spokesperson for the executive.

The only solution: dig around the well to save the child. The drilling works “reached more than 27 m, with the hope of reaching 32 m during the next few hours, before digging a horizontal gap of 3 m between the hole and the well to recover the child”, a reported the MAP news agency.

But the phase is delicate given the risk of landslide, they added. The operation is very complex due to the nature of the soil, as some layers are sandy and others rocky.

How is Ryan?

For the moment, it is not known if he is still alive but water and oxygen have been brought to him to the bottom of the cramped well. A medical team was dispatched to the scene of the accident to “carry out initial examinations and resuscitation interventions for the child once rescued”, added MAP. A gendarmerie helicopter is ready to evacuate the child to a nearby hospital. The rescuers are supported by topographers also mobilized on site.

Massive support

The direct broadcasts of several Moroccan media are followed minute by minute by hundreds of thousands of Internet users, hanging on to the fate of the child. The hashtag #sauvezrayan (in Arabic) is still one of the main trends on Twitter in Morocco.

Moroccan international and PSG star Achraf Hakimi shared an illustration on Instagram, accompanied by two emojis: the broken heart and the folded hands of prayer. Algerian Riyad Mahrez, star of Manchester City, was not left out, sharing on Facebook a photo of Rayan lined with the hashtag #Stay Strong (Stay Strong).

The emotion is such that the inhabitants of the region flocked “in large numbers” to the scene of the tragedy – sitting patiently around the well – but sometimes hindering the work of the rescue teams. “Rescuers work in very difficult conditions. We call on citizens to let them work to save this child,” urged Mustapha Baitas, the government spokesperson.

The emotion is such that the inhabitants of the region flocked “in large numbers” to the scene of the tragedy. AFP or licensors

This accident echoes a tragedy that occurred in early 2019 in Spain: in Andalusia, a two-year-old child died after falling into an abandoned well 25 cm in diameter and more than 100 m deep dug to find water. The body of little Julen had been found after thirteen days of research on an exceptional scale.