Operation Sujith fails, boy stuck in borewell dead

Tiruchi: Nearly 80 hours of struggle to rescue a three-year-old boy stuck in a discarded borewell near here failed with the death of the child and retrieving of his decomposed body from a depth of 88-feet in the early hours of today.

Commissioner of Revenue Administration J Radhakrishnan said those posted near the borewell noticed 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.

Sujith Wilson 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.

After Radhakrishnan declared that Sujith was dead, his body was pulled out and was sent to a government hospital at Manapparai, about 40 km from here for autopsy, and was later handed over to his parents.

The exercise of pulling out the body was done in keeping with the national guidelines on ‘managing the dead’ during such circumstances, he said in reply to a question.

Tiruchi 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 stuck at a depth of 88 feet, 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.”

Health Minister C Vijayabaskar and his Cabinet colleagues, including Vellamandi Natarajan, paid their last respects to the boy at the hospital.

DMK president M K Stalin, PMK founder S Ramadoss, AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran and others have condoled his death.

Emotional scenes

As the boy’s body arrived, a pall of gloom descended on the Nadukattupatti village and people lined up to pay their last respects.

Many were unable to control their tears. Police personnel were deployed in adequate numbers to maintain law and order. Later, the body was buried in a local cemetery.