Rescuers continue desperate search for toddler trapped in well

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The research of little Julen, a two-year-old boy who fell into a very narrow and deep well in southern Spain, faced obstacles on Thursday that reduced the hopes of finding him alive after five days.

In a race against the clock in Spain, authorities are digging a vertical tunnel, parallel to the well 25 centimeters in diameter and about 100 meters deep, where the boy fell Sunday in Totalan, near Malaga.

A pile of stones and dirt, driven by the child in its fall, about 70 meters deep, prevents firefighters, engineers and drilling specialists from reaching Julen, who would be trapped underneath.

A second tunnel must be dug in an oblique direction on the mountain, in an attempt to reach the child, but the nature of the terrain has led to complications that slow down the work.

This gallery “presents technical difficulties, basically because of the instability of the ground and its hardness”, explained to the press the engineer Angel Garcia Vidal, at the head of the team in charge of the works.

“We make every effort to make the deadline as short as possible, but I want to emphasize that the difficulties are enormous and all the work is done without prior knowledge of the field,” he said.

Normally, a project of this magnitude would take “months”, according to Angel Garcia Vidal.

Since the disappearance of Julen, authorities have had no sign of life.

Hair identified as belonging to the child was found in the well, confirming that he was likely trapped there.

It is not known if the section of the well under the pile of stones has an air intake, said Angel Garcia Vidal.

“We will continue to work and we will not stop for a minute until we get the child out of there, be sure. No one in the team doubts that we are going to take him out and we are crossing our fingers, we hope to be able to rescue him alive, “said Malaga sub-prefect Maria Gamez.

Among the companies participating in the search is Stockholm Precision Tools AB, a Swedish company that contributed in 2010 to the rescue after 69 days of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground.

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Bill Carr is a Senior Editor at Plains Gazette, based in Austin. Previously he has worked for FOX Sports and MSNBC's "Morning Joe." he is a graduate of the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. You can reach Bill via email or by phone