KABUL: A six-year-old boy trapped for over three days in a well in southern Afghanistan died moments after he was pulled out on Friday, officials said, following a rescue effort that has gripped the nation.
Officials said the child, only identified by his first name Haidar, was still alive when rescuers managed to pull him out of the well in Shokak village, Zabul province, before noon.
A medical team then scrambled to provide him first aid and oxygen, but he died as they attempted to move him to a helicopter headed for Kabul, where he was to receive urgent treatment.
“Unfortunately we lost Haidar, with all the efforts that were made for his rescue he didn’t last long,” Zabiullah Jawhar, Zabul police spokesperson, told Arab News.
Anas Haqqani, a senior adviser at the Taliban-run interior ministry, took to Twitter to announce the boy’s death.
“With great sorrow, young Haidar is separated from us forever. Our country hosts another day with mourn and sorrow,” he wrote.
انا لله وانا الیه راجعون
په ډېرې خواشینی سره ماشوم حیدر زمونږ څخه د تل لپاره جدا شو
زمونږ هیواد نن ورځ بیا د یوې لویې غمجنې پیښې کوربه دی
الله تعالی دې ټول افغان ولس او.خصوصا د حیدر کورنۍ ته صبر جمیل ورکړي
او خدای تعالی دې نور د خوشالیو پسرلي راولي
— Anas Haqqani(انس حقاني) (@AnasHaqqani313) February 18, 2022
The tragic incident in Shokak village comes less than two weeks after a boy died in Morocco after being trapped in a well for four days.
Haidar slipped on Tuesday to the bottom of a 25-meter well, but was pulled by a rope to about 10 meters before getting stuck.
Rescuers worked non-stop to save the boy, with senior officials from the Taliban’s newly installed government, including defense minister Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid, overseeing the rescue operations.
Videos circulating online on Thursday showed the boy wedged in the well, but able to move his arms and upper body.
“Are you okay my son?” his father was heard saying in footage shared on social media. “Talk with me and don’t cry, we are working to get you out.”
“Okay, I’ll keep talking,” the boy replied.
However, Haidar stopped responding on Friday morning, as rescuers attempted to work through a large rock that was blocking their final access to the shaft. Before that engineers dug an open slit trench using bulldozers from an angle at the surface to reach the boy.
The operation employed similar engineering to what rescuers in Morocco had attempted earlier this month, when “little Rayan” fell down a 32-meter well and was pulled out dead five days later.