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72-hours on, rescue efforts for 3-year-old boy stuck in TN borewell hampered by rocky soil

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Press Trust of India Tiruchirapalli (TN)
A heavy, German-made drilling machine has been deployed to dig a parallel shaft to reach a 3-year-old boy stuck in an abandoned borewell at a depth of 88 feet for the last 72 hours, but rescue efforts were hampered by rocky soil and rain, officials said Monday.
As operations stretched into the fourth day, the sleepy village of Nadukattupatti, about 40 km from here, was teeming with people from neighbouring villages to witness the elaborate

rescue efforts for the boy who fell into the disused farm borewell while playing near his house at 5.30 pm on Friday.
Rescuers have been digging another parallel shaft since Sunday to reach an appropriate depth to get to the boy, and now a heavy Larsen and Tubro drilling machine of German make, equipped with tungsten carbide tipped teeth, has been deployed to expedite the efforts, said Commissioner of Revenue Administration J Radhakrishnan.
The abandoned borewell's diameter is very narrow and the boy is trapped in rocky soil, he told reporters in Nadukattupatti.
Initially, efforts were made to rescue the boy by using "clamping," technology involving tailor- made equipment, but that failed, he said.
Extra care needs to be taken and the drilling cannot be rushed since there are chances of the abandoned borewell getting closed completely due to vibrations, he said, adding that this remains a key challenge.
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 rescue effort is 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. But it is not clear what his condition is or whether he is conscious.
The child is in a "stablilised location," and this point of space has been air-locked to prevent the boy from sliding down further.
"All technical efforts are in place to try and prevent the soil from getting loosened. 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.

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First Published: Oct 28 2019 | 6:20 PM IST

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