The Slatest

Moroccan Boy Trapped in Well for Days Dies Before Rescue

People look on as an ambulance drives away from the scene where rescue crews worked to pull five-year-old Rayan Oram from a well shaft he fell into on February 1, in the remote village of Ighrane in the rural northern province of Chefchaouen on February 5, 2022.
People look on as an ambulance drives away from the scene where rescue crews worked to pull five-year-old Rayan Oram from a well shaft he fell into on February 1, in the remote village of Ighrane in the rural northern province of Chefchaouen on February 5, 2022. FADEL SENNA/Getty Images

A five-year-old boy trapped in a deep well in northern Morocco since Tuesday died before rescuers managed to get to him late on Saturday. The rescue efforts captivated the nation and many around the world were following the massive operations to try to save the boy, Rayan Oram. When he was pulled out of the well, he was wrapped in a yellow blanket and some onlookers initially cheered. But only minutes later it became clear the story had ended in tragedy and Moroccan King Mohammed VI expressed his condolences to the boy’s parents in a statement.

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Rayan had plunged more than 100 feet down the well outside his home village of Ighran, located in the northern Chefchaouen province Tuesday evening. His family realized the boy was missing when they heard crying and they lowered a phone into the well with the light and camera switched on so they could try to locate him. “He was crying ‘lift me up’,” a family member said. Rescuers sent oxygen, food and water down to the boy but it was unclear whether he was able to use them. They also lowered a camera to keep track of how he was doing. The well is 18 inches wide at the top and narrows as it gets deeper, which made it impossible for rescuers to go down to him directly. Rescuers first tried to dig in the well itself but they started getting worried the walls would collapse on Rayan, who was trapped in a tight space that was thought to be less than 20 inches in diameter. Then they used bulldozers to dig a parallel ditch and then excavated a horizontal tunnel to reach the boy.

The camera that had been lowered into the well showed the boy was alive and conscious on Thursday. But then there were no updates on his conditions and rescue workers said it was difficult to know the boy’s condition. Many onlookers had gathered at the site cheering on the rescue workers and many used the hashtag #SaveRayan in Morocco and around the world to call attention to the boy’s plight.

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