72 hrs on, rescue ops for 2-yr-old Sujith Wilson who fell in borewell in Tamil Nadu's Trichy, hampered by rocky soil and rainfall

The two-year-old boy, who fell into an abandoned borewell in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirappalli, is stuck at a depth of almost 100 feet for more than 72 hours after the incident occurred on Friday, as anxiety has risen over the child's well-being with rescue efforts hampered by rocky soil and rain.

FP Staff October 28, 2019 18:55:48 IST
72 hrs on, rescue ops for 2-yr-old Sujith Wilson who fell in borewell in Tamil Nadu's Trichy, hampered by rocky soil and rainfall
  • The child has fallen into an abandoned borewell, the diameter of which is very narrow and has gotten trapped in rocky soil

  • Initially, efforts were made to rescue the boy by using 'clamping,' a technology involving tailor-made equipment but that bid did not succeed

  • In a parallel operation, another hole was being drilled since Sunday

The two-year-old boy, who fell into an abandoned borewell in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirappalli, is stuck at a depth of almost 100 feet for more than 72 hours after the incident occurred on Friday, as anxiety has risen over the child's well-being with rescue efforts hampered by rocky soil and rain.

As operations stretched into the fourth day, the sleepy village of Nadukattupatti is teeming with people from several neighbouring villages to witness the rescue of the boy who fell into the used farm borewell while playing near his house at 5.30 pm on Friday.

Rescuers have been engaged in digging another borewell since Sunday to reach an appropriate depth to get to the boy and now a heavy drilling machine of German make has been deployed to expedite the efforts.

Explaining the challenges involved, Commissioner of Revenue Administration J Radhakrishnan said without understanding the complexities involved, questions were being raised about the rescue measures.

The child has fallen into an abandoned borewell, the diameter of which is very narrow and has gotten trapped in rocky soil, he told reporters.

Initially, efforts were made to rescue the boy by using "clamping," a technology involving tailor-made equipment but that bid did not succeed, he said.

In a parallel operation, another hole was being drilled since Sunday, he said, adding that now a heavy drilling machine of German make from Larsen and Tubro with "tungsten carbide tipped teeth," has been deployed to speed up the effort.

Extra care needs to be taken in respect of speed while drilling since there are chances of the abandoned borewell getting closed completely due to vibrations and this is a key challenge, he pointed out. Geologists, who were consulted, pointed out that the soil comprised hard rock of quartz and feldspar, he said.

"Standard operating procedures are followed and we are doing it professionally... the decision on the rescue effort has been taken based on experts' advice," he said. Monitoring through cameras indicate that the child is trapped at a depth of about 88 feet and some soil has fallen on him, the senior official said.

The child is in a "stablilised location," and this point of space has been airlocked to prevent the boy from going further down. Reportedly, officials are also of the opinion that the child had become unconscious because there was no movement or breathing detected since Saturday.

"All technical efforts are in place to try and avoid soil getting loosened,” he said. “The rescue operations will not be called off at any cost. There will be no let-up in the efforts. At the same time we don't want to give any false hope to the parents of the child," he said and added that they were being counselled.

National and State Disaster unit personnel, Fire and Rescue Services personnel are on stand-by. In view of occasional mild showers, the location has been covered with tarpaulin sheets.

Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, and his Cabinet colleagues are camping at the site. Top government officials led by Radhakrishnan are overseeing the rescue efforts. Leaders of political parties including MDMK chief Vaiko and local Congress MP Jothimani are also at the spot.

Narendra Modi speaks to EK Palaniswami regarding rescue ops

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that he had spoken to Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami regarding the rescue efforts underway to save Sujith.

"My prayers are with the young and brave Sujith Wilson. Spoke to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami regarding the rescue efforts underway to save Sujith. Every effort is being made to ensure that he is safe," Modi tweeted.

Palaniswami also tweeted later on Monday and said that he had briefed Modi about the rescue efforts underway. He said, "Briefed honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modiji regarding the rescue efforts underway to save child Sujith Wilson who fell into an unused borewell in Nadukattupatti village. Three ministers have been deputed along with Fire and Rescue services, NDRF and SDRF.

The Indian Express quoted Theni MP Raveendranath Kumar as saying that the state government had left "no stone unturned" in efforts to rescue Wilson. "I believe that the child will be rescued by tonight", he added.

"About a dozen rescue personnel, who will be lowered inside the pit along with oxygen tanks to rescue Sujith began preparing themselves for the descent, with the borewell drilling machine making steady progress in extending the 45 feet deep pit," the report said.

With inputs from agencies

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