Punjab: 2-year-old stuck in 150-foot-deep borewell in Sangrur, rescue operation on for over 70 hours

Nearly 70 hours after two-year-old Fatehvir Singh fell into a 150-foot-deep borewell in Punjabs Sangrur district, officials Sunday said the operation to rescue him is in its final stage. Fatehvir, who is the only child of his parents, fell into the unused borewell in a field while he was playing near his house around 4 pm Thursday, officials said. The seven-inch-wide borewell was covered with a cloth and the boy accidentally stepped on it. His mother tried to rescue him, but failed. The rescue operation is going on and is in its final stage. It is expected to be completed today, Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Ganshyam Thori said. No food could be provided to the child, who has been unconscious after he fell into the borewell, he said, adding that oxygen is being supplied to him. On Saturday morning, officials, who were monitoring the boys condition through camera, had said some movements of the child were noticed. Thori said the entire rescue operation is being carried out under his supervision and it was quite challenging as there are a lot of technical issues involved. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has also deputed an officer who specialises in operations to rescue children stuck in borewells, the DC said. The toddler is stuck at a depth of 125 feet and a team of NDRF personnel and army experts, assisted by police, civil authorities, villagers and volunteers, are carrying out the rescue operations. To retrieve Fatehvir, a parallel borewell has been dug by installing reinforced cement concrete (RCC) pipes of nearly 30 inches in diameter. No where in the world has such an operation been carried out where a child is stuck at such a depth in a borewell.Even recently in the Hisar incident, the depth of the borewell was much less, Thori said. In March, an 18-month-old boy was rescued from a borewell in Haryanas Hisar district, two days after he had fallen into it. Giving details of the operation, Thori said NDRF personnel had managed to clamp both the hands of the child in the early phase of the rescue operation on Thursday, but given the peculiar position where he is stuck, they could not risk pulling him as he could be harmed. Thori said a team of doctors are stationed at the site to provide the best medical assistance to Fatehvir whenever he is taken out of the borewell. He said an ambulance equipped with a ventilator has also been stationed at the site. Twenty-six members of the NDRF are engaged in the rescue operation. The incident has again brought to fore the dangers posed by uncovered borewells, which have turned into death traps for children. Besides the Hisar incident, in 2006, a massive operation was launched to rescue five-year-old Prince, who had fallen into a borewell in a village in Kurukshetra. He was pulled out safely nearly 48 hours later.


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