Spain: Boy′s body found in well after 13-day search | News | DW | 26.01.2019
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Spain: Boy's body found in well after 13-day search

Spanish rescuers have recovered the body of a 2-year-old boy who fell into a deep narrow well nearly two weeks ago. Specialized mining crews had conducted a complex operation in an attempt to save the toddler.

Rescuers have found the body of a 2-year old boy who fell down an illegal borehole in southern Spain 13 days ago, authorities said early Saturday.

The toddler, Julen Rosello, disappeared down a 110-meter-deep (360-foot) well that is only 25 centimeters in diameter on January 13 while playing in Totalan, a town near Malaga.

"Unfortunately at 1:25 a.m. the rescue team reached the spot where they were looking for Julen and found the lifeless body of the little one," Alfonso Rodriguez Gomez de Celis, the central government's representative in the Andalusia region, wrote on Twitter. "My condolences to the family." 

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Mining equipment at the site of the search for Julen Rosello (Getty Images/AFP/J. Guerrero)

Rescuers brought in heavy boring machinery to dig a side horizontal tunnel to reach the shaft

Urgent rescue effort

Spain has been gripped by the rescue effort as specialized mining crews worked around-the-clock to dig a parallel shaft to a point some 70 meters underground.

The shaft Julen fell down was too narrow for an adult to enter and had been covered by dirt and rocks about two-thirds the way down. Regional authorities said the well had not been marked and was illegally dug without permission.

Gomez de Celis told reporters that an investigation was underway to determine any "potential liabilities" in the 2-year-old's death.

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The crews used controlled explosions to blast a 4-meter tunnel through hard rock to link the two tunnels at the point where the boy was trapped down the shaft. It was "a colossal mission" that involved "moving 85,000 tonnes of earth in a brief space of time... with the obstacle course that the mountain was throwing at us," Gomez de Celis said.

The boy's family had held out hope the toddler had survived, maintaining a vigil at the site. Spanish media had reported that the parents lost another son, 3-year-old Oliver, to a heart attack in 2017.

Spain's King Felipe VI expressed his "deepest condolences to Julen's whole family."

"All of Spain feels the infinite sadness of Julen's family. We have followed closely every step to reach him," Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wrote on Twitter. 

cw/cmk (AFP, dpa, AP, Reuters)

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