A five-year-old boy trapped for three days down a remote Afghan village well died moments after being pulled out alive.
The boy, called Haidar, was wedged 33ft down the well and rescuers were seen digging down in an attempt to reach the boy in Shokok village, Zabul province, southern Afghanistan.
The operation comes just two weeks after a similar attempt to rescue five-year-old Rayan Awram from a Moroccan well ended in tragedy, with the little boy found dead after being trapped more than 100ft underground for four days.
‘With great sorrow, young Haidar is separated from us forever,’ Taliban interior ministry senior adviser Anas Haqqani said.
Zabul police spokesman Zabiullah Jawhar said Haidar was clinging to life when rescuers reached him.
He said: ‘In the first minutes after the rescue operation was completed he was breathing, and the medical team gave him oxygen.
‘When the medical team tried to carry him to the helicopter, he lost his life.’
The operation comes around two weeks after a similar attempt to rescue a boy from a Moroccan well gripped the world
Rayan Awram, five, fell into a 32-metre (105ft) well outside his home in Ighran village, in the northern province of Chefchaouen, earlier this month. It sparked a race-against-the-clock rescue mission that ended in tragedy as the young boy died before rescuers could reach him.
Haidar’s grandfather, Haji Abdul Hadi, 50, said his grandson fell down the well when he was trying to ‘help’ adults dig a new borehole in the drought-ravaged village.
Officials said he slipped and became stuck 33ft down the narrow shaft.
Senior officials from the Taliban’s newly installed government oversaw the rescue operation in Shokak, which was watched by hundreds of villagers.
Some Taliban officials posted videos of the tricky operation, saying it was an example of how the new regime – widely criticised for rights abuses – would spare nothing to care for citizens.
Video shared on social media – including by officials of Afghanistan’s new Taliban government – showed Haidar wedged in the well, able to move his arms and upper body. The little boy could be heard crying in the footage.
‘Are you okay my son?’ his father could be heard saying. ‘Talk with me and don’t cry, we are working to get you out.’
‘Okay, I’ll keep talking,’ the boy replied.
The video was obtained by rescuers lowering a light and a camera down the narrow well by rope.
Engineers using bulldozers dug an open slit trench from an angle at the surface to reach the point where Haidar was trapped.
A large rock blocked the final few metres, which workers used pickaxes to break on Friday morning.
Local officials said the boy appeared trapped about 33ft down the 82ft shaft.
‘A team is there with an ambulance, oxygen and other necessary things,’ tweeted Abdullah Azzam, secretary to Deputy Prime Minister Abdulghani Barada.
Rescuers dug an open slit trench from an angle at the surface to try to reach the point where the boy was trapped.
It appeared to be similar engineering to what rescuers attempted in Morocco in early February, when Rayan fell into a 105ft (32-metre) well outside his home in Ighran village, in the northern province of Chefchaouen.
After digging vertically and then horizontally – all while risking a landslide – rescuers and resuscitation experts finally reached the boy after four days, offering a faint glimmer of optimism that he might have survived the ordeal.
But the anxious wait for news of five-year-old Rayan ended in tragedy for his family, after government officials confirmed the young boy could not be resuscitated, adding that he had died before rescuers could reach him.
The boy’s body was seen wrapped in a gold blanket after he emerged from a tunnel dug specifically for the rescue operation.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI sent his condolences to the Awram family and praised both the rescue crews and local community for their valiant efforts over the past week. Supportive messages were also shared online as the hashtag #SaveRayan trended on Twitter.
Source: Daily Mail