Prince safely rescued from the pit by army
Haldera (Kurukshetra), Jul 23: Army Engineers accomplished the herculean task of pulling out a 5-year-old boy, Prince, from the 53-feet deep hole of a submersible well, in which he lay trapped for 50 hours, answering the prayers of millions of Indians.
It was virtually a rebirth for Prince, whose birthday incidentally falls today. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had led the nation in offering prayers for the safety of Prince.
The frantic efforts of the rescue teams of the 65 Engineers Regt backed by the Indo Tibetian Border Police (ITBP) and the civil and police administration, yielded results this evening, when a army jawan reached out to touch the boy, who lay crouched in the 16-inch diameter hole. Prince had been lying in that position since he fell into the hole on Friday evening while playing with his friends.
Assisted by the army jawan, the boy crawled through the tunnel which the Engineers had dug from a abandoned well, 10-metres away from the hole in which Prince was trapped. Much to the joy of his parents, friends and the large number of on-lookers, Prince was taken out of the well with the assistance of a crane.
''Bhagwan ka shukr hai (thank god) '', was all that a weeping father and mother could utter as they took their son into their arms.
There was huge relief all around and villagers, who at one stage had given up hope of seeing Prince alive, gave a standing ovation to those who had battled time and nature to achieve the impossible.
Medical teams immediately undertook a thorough check-up of the rescued boy and found that he was in 'fairly good health'. The medical teams will remain in the village to keep a close watch on Prince, the son of a poor farm labourer Ram Chander who thanked all those who had offered prayers for the safety of his son.
Complimenting the efforts of 'his boys', Col S K Vidarthi of the 65 Engineer Regiment said ''We have achieved the impossible and i am proud of my men''. He said that his offficers and jawans had been at the scene of the ''battle'' since yesterday when the army was summoned from Ambala Cantt after the district administration efforts to rescue Prince prooved fruitless.
The trapped boy was continously fed on milk, chocolates, biscuits and other food items to keep him in ''fine health'', Col Vidarthi said, adding that they had monitored Prince's movements with the help of Closed Circuit TV-cameras (CCT). The boy was also supplied with water and glucose in the 16-inch wide hole, in which a bulb was lowered to keep a track of the Prince. Oxygen was periodically pumped into the hole from a cylinder with the help of a tube to help the boy breath easily.
''Food items were lowered into the well with the help of a rope and at intervals we kept saying a few encouraging words to the boy, so that he does not lose hope and his spirits do not falter'', the army officer said. The army officials were a worried lot last night when the boy failed to respond, but encouraging words from his father and the village folk lifted his spirits and he again began to respond to the voices coming from the mouth of the well hole.
''He was indeed a brave boy and responded positively, which showed his courage in the face of the impossible'', the Colonel said.
Explaining the details of the rescue operation, Col Vidarthi said that since it was impossible to pull out the boy from above as the diameter of the well was just 16 inches. ''So we located a abandoned well just ten feet away. From here we bore a new tunnel which took us to the submersible well hole and the exact spot where the boy was lying crouched'', the Colonel said.
The army had pressed into service a Collar Crane to remove the mud and debris of the tunnel which the Engineers are digging. The rescue operation was hampered last night due to rain but resumed this morning.
A team of doctors led by Dr Praveen Garg from Shahbad who had been camping at the spot since yesterday provided the necessary oxygen and glucose to Prince. Deputy Commissioner T P Sharma and SP Sanjay Kumar also remained at the site all through out to supervise the rescue operations.
The resident of Haldera and nearby villages organised 'langar' (free community kitchens) for the rescue teams and others assisting in the operation.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, a number of his ministerial colleagues and local MP Naveen Jindal also visited the village to offer their support and assurances to the residents here.
They alongwith Governor A K Kidwai offered prayers for the safety of the trapped boy whom the Governor described as '' a brave son of Haryana''.
The Governor and the Chief Minister congratulated the army personnal for carrying out this herculean operation successfully.