80-hour operation to pull child out of borewell ends in tragedy, rescuers pull out body

80-hour operation to pull child out of borewell ends in tragedy, rescuers pull out body
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Rescuers pulled out the decomposed and mangled body of a 3-year-old boy early Tuesday from deep inside an unused borewell

Tiruchirappalli (TN): Rescuers pulled out the decomposed and mangled body of a 3-year-old boy early Tuesday from deep inside an unused borewell, after a futile 80-hour attempt to save the child who had fallen in while playing near his house in a Tamil Nadu village. After a post mortem at a government hospital, the body of Sujith Wilson was handed over to his parents who buried him in a heart-wrenching funeral conducted by the local parish priest at a nearby graveyard.

Sujith had fallen into the disused farm borewell while playing near his house in Nadukattupatti on Friday evening, and various central and state agencies were called in to rescue him. Initially, he was stuck at a depth of about 30 feet but subsequently slipped further down, and the body was finally pulled out from a depth of 88 feet, official said. Commissioner of Revenue Administration J Radhakrishnan said rescuers noticed a foul smell around 10.30 pm on Monday following which medical personnel and teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) assessed the situation.

After Radhakrishnan declared that Wilson was dead, the rescue operation turned into an effort to retrieve the body, which was done in keeping with the national guidelines on "managing the dead" during such circumstances. The tragedy had drawn national attention with Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeting words of sympathy and encouragement. Tiruchirappalli district collector S Sivarasu told reporters at Nadukattupatti village that personnel of the national and state disaster response force personnel retrieved the body.

Earlier on Monday, a heavy German-made drilling machine was deployed to dig a parallel shaft to reach the boy, but rescue efforts were hampered by rocky soil and rain. Two Fire and Rescue Services personnel were lowered into the freshly drilled shaft, using a ladder and with all necessary support like oxygen, for initial assessment of the condition inside. The collector said, "Three loads of redimix concrete has been ordered and I will not leave this spot without closing the defunct borewell and as well as the parallel hole dug up for the rescue effort." As the boy's body arrived, a pall of gloom descended on the village and people lined up to pay their last respects.

Police personnel have been deployed in adequate numbers to maintain law and order. Cabinet colleagues, including Vellamandi Natarajan, paid their last respects to the boy at the hospital. DMK chief M K Stalin, and leaders of political parties also condoled the death.

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