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Rescue operation to pull out boy continues in Kurukshetra

Written by: Staff

Haldera, Kurukshetra, July 23 (UNI) Frantic efforts were continuing today to pull out a 5-year-old boy, Prince, 48 hours after he fell into the 60-feet-deep hole of a submersible tubewell in this village.

The efforts to rescue the trapped boy were hampered this afternoon, as the rescue parties faltered with the alignment of the tunnel they were digging to reach Prince. The tunnel was being dug from an abandoned well, ten feet away from the submersible well hole, where the boy was lying in a crouched position.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said Army engineers were consulting experts around the world.

Mr Hooda, accompanied by local MP Naveen Jindal, visited the site and offered all assistance to rescue the boy. Mr Hooda said a nine member team of the Mumbai Fire Brigade had left in an AN-32 Indian Air Force (IAF) plane for the site to join the rescue operations.

The plane was expected to land at the IAF base in Ambala Cantt, from where the team would be reaching Haldera. Disaster experts from ONGC had also reached the spot to assist in the rescue operation.

Over 48 hours have passed since Prince, son of Ram Chander, a daily wage labourer, fell into the hole of the tubewell while playing with his friends on Friday evening.

''We will rescue the boy and our Engineers are doing a fine job'', Commandant of 65-Engineers Col S K Vidarthi said. He said his offficers and jawans had been at the scene of the ''battle'' ever since the army was summoned from Ambala Cantt for help yesterday as efforts of the district administration proved fruitless.

The trapped boy was continuously being fed on milk, chocolates, biscuits and other food items and is in ''fine health'', Col Vidarthi said, as indicated by pictures received on the Closed Circuit TV-cameras (CCT). The boy was also being supplied with water and glucose in the 16-inch-wide hole in which he was trapped. Oxygen was being pumped into the hole from a cylinder with the help of a tube to help the breath easily.

''Food items are being lowered into the well with the help of a rope and we are encouraging the boy to eat these items'' 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 villagefolk lifted his spirits and he again began to respond to the voices coming from the mouth of the tubewell hole.

''He is a brave boy and has been responding positively, which shows his courage in the face of the impossible,'' the Colonel said.

Col Vidarthi explained the details of the rescue operation where it was impossible to pull out the boy from above as the width of the well was just 16 inches. ''So we located an abandoned well just ten feet away. From here, we are boring a tunnel which will take us to the submersible well hole and the exact spot where the boy is trapped,'' the Colonel said, pointing out that it would be through this tunnel that the boy would be pulled out.

The army has 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 Shahabad was camping at the spot to provide oxygen and glucose to Prince. Deputy Commissioner T P Sharma and SP Sanjay Kumar were also present at the site.

The local police has cordoned off the entire area and requested the onlookers to move to locations away from the well. The boy's father and other villagers were constantly praying and hoping for the ''miracle to happen''. The resident of Haldera and nearby villages were organising 'langar' (free community kitchens) for the rescue teams and others assisting in the operation.

Haryana Governor A K Kidwai has offered prayers for the safety of the trapped boy, whom he described as ''a brave son of Haryana''.


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