Rescuing the two-year-old boy, who is stuck in a borewell in Tamil Nadu's Trichy since Friday, may take another 12 hours, a senior government official has said, adding the child is in a stable condition. The rescue team is drilling a one-meter-wide tunnel parallel to the borewell to reach the boy, Sujith, but the progress is slow due to the rocky terrain, he said. After drilling, the fire service personnel will try to reach the child via a horizontal passage.
"Rocky terrain has slowed the drilling of a new borewell. Rescue may take another 12 hours," Dr Radhakrishnan, Tamil Nadu Relief Commissioner said on Monday.
"40 feet more to be drilled and then a passage needs to be cut. The child is in a stable condition and is being monitored via camera," he added.
Measures are being taken to prevent the child from slipping further to a depth of 90 feet, officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed concerns for his safety.
My prayers are with the young and brave Sujith Wilson. Spoke to CM @EPSTamilNadu regarding the rescue efforts underway to save Sujith. Every effort is being made to ensure that he is safe. @CMOTamilNadu— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 28, 2019
According to the police, Sujith, who had been playing near the borewell, fell in at around 5.30 pm on Friday night. There are conflicting reports about the depth of the hole- some say it is 600 feet deep, while others say it is at least 1,000 feet.
Sujith has been in the borewell without food and water. Oxygen is being supplied but he has stopped responding to calls.
A team of 25 personnel, including those from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), has been pressed into the rescue operation.
Tamil Nadu ministers C Vijayabaskar and ''Vellamandi'' N Nagarajan are at the spot, along with senior state officials.
As the rescuers race against time, prayers for the safety of the child have started in the state.
While the nation celebrates Deepavali, in Tamil Nadu a race against time is underway to save baby Surjeeth, who has been trapped in a borewell since Friday. I pray that he will be rescued & reunited with his distraught parents at the earliest #savesurjeeth— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 27, 2019
After Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, actor Rajinikanth has also expressed his concern over the incident.
"I pray for the rescue of the boy. Parents should take care of their children. Precautionary measures should have been taken," he was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
Many are critical of the state government's "trial and error" approach, saying the NDRF was summoned nine hours after the rescue operation began.
O Panneerselvam has denied the charge. "We have deployed an advanced rig which can drill five feet in an hour. Rescue work had begun an hour after information was received," he said.
Critics say there is no standard operation procedure for such incidents, and the state and central governments have not developed technology to rescue children trapped in borewells.
With inputs from PTI, ANI