Morocco: Death of 5-year-old boy trapped in well saddens entire country

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Rayan, a five-year-old boy was trapped for four days in a deep well. On Saturday night, King Mohammed VI expressed his condolences to the boy's parents as a royal palace statement announced the boy's death.

A 5-year-old boy who was trapped for four days in a deep well in Morocco has died, the royal palace said Saturday. The boy, Rayan, was pulled out Saturday night by rescuers after a lengthy operation that captivated global attention.

His parents, Khaled Oram and Wassima Khersheesh had been escorted to an ambulance before the boy emerged. Moroccan King Mohammed VI expressed his condolences to the boy’s parents after he closely followed the frantic rescue efforts by locals authorities, “instructing officials to use all means necessary to dig the boy out of the well and return him alive to his parents”.

Global attention

Hundreds of villagers and others had gathered to watch the rescue operation. Online messages of support and concern for the boy poured in from around the world as the rescue efforts dragged on for four days. Rescuers used a rope to send oxygen and water down to the boy as well as a camera to monitor him.

Rayan fell into a 32-meter (105-feet) well located outside his home in the village of Ighran in Morocco’s mountainous northern Chefchaouen province on Tuesday evening. For three days, search crews used bulldozers to dig a parallel ditch. Then on Friday, they started excavating a horizontal tunnel to reach the trapped boy. Morocco’s MAP news agency said that experts in topographical engineering were called upon for help.

The king hailed the rescuers for their relentless work and the community for landing support to Rayan's family.

Nationwide, Moroccans had taken to social media to offer their hopes for the boy’s survival, using the hashtag #SaveRayan which has brought global attention to the rescue efforts.

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