A relative of a five-year-old boy who was trapped 32m down a well for days has revealed he heard the boy’s tragic final words.
The tragic final words of a five-year-old boy who died after being trapped in a well in Morocco for days has been revealed.
Rayan Awram called out begging to be saved as he awaited rescue, a male relative told Reuters news agency.
The relative said his family had first realised Rayan was missing when they heard the sounds of muffled crying, then they used their phone camera light to locate him.
“He was crying ‘lift me up’,” the man said.
On Sunday footage showed Rayan, who fell into a 32-metre shaft outside his home in Ighran village on Tuesday evening, being carried out of a tunnel that rescuers constructed to reach him.
It was later reported the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, confirmed the boy had been pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.
Moroccan media had reported resuscitation specialists entered the tunnel alongside rescue crews amid fears the five-year-old needed potentially life-saving medical care.
The rescue teams had moved at a snail’s pace for fear of triggering a landslip, AFP correspondents reported.
The boy plunged 32m down the well five days ago.
The complex and risky earth-moving operation has gripped residents of the North African kingdom and beyond, also sparking sympathy in neighbouring Algeria, a regional rival.
Progress slowed as the drill teams worked by hand to avoid any vibrations that might bring brittle soil down on the stricken child, local authorities said.
“Eighty centimetres (less than three feet) separate us from Rayan but the drillers are working painstakingly to avoid any mishap,” engineer Mounir al-Jazouli told a local broadcaster.
A camera inserted into the well where Rayan is stuck had shown him, from behind, lying on his side, said Abdelhadi Tamrani, an official in charge of the operation.
Onlookers applauded to encourage the rescuers, sang religious songs or prayed, chanting in unison “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest).
Rescuers had tried to get oxygen and water down to the child but it was not clear whether he was able to use them, AFP correspondents reported.
Thousands of people gathered and even camped in solidarity around the site in recent days, where AFP reporters have said the tension has been palpable.
“We hope that, with God’s will, he will get out,” he said.
The operation has made the landscape resemble a construction site.
Overnight they worked non-stop under powerful floodlights that gave a gloomy air to the scene.
“I keep up hope that my child will get out of the well alive,” Rayan’s father told public television 2M on Friday evening. “I thank everyone involved and those supporting us in Morocco and elsewhere.”
The drama has sparked an outpouring of sympathy online, with the trending Arabic hashtag #SaveRayan.
Another paid tribute to rescue workers working around the clock for days, saying, “they are real-life heroes”.
One volunteer said he was there to help. “We’ve been here for three days. Rayan is a child of our region. We won’t leave until he’s out of the well,” he said.
Julen Rosello’s body was recovered after a search and rescue operation that lasted 13 days.