Rescue workers are racing against time to save a toddler who has been trapped for more than 72 hours in a deep well in southern India.
Sujith Wilson, 2, fell down the deep well while playing near his home in Tiruchirappalli district of Tamil Nadu on Friday afternoon.
It is believed he initially fell a depth of around 30 feet, but has since slipped up to 100 feet into the abandoned well.
The toddler was unconscious but was breathing until Sunday morning – but rescuers have been unable to check on his condition since then.
Sujith Taylor (right) appears in a family portrait with his mother, father and brother
Initially, a thermal camera had been used to monitor the child’s body temperature while oxygen was supplied through a pipe.
In the latest news from crew on the ground, 12 men have been reportedly picked to go down the well, by rope, in a new effort to reach the boy.
‘It’s a race against time,’ said Jawaharlal Nehru, a senior district officer at the site where rescue operations have entered the fourth day.
The firemen will go down a borewell, which has been drilled parallel to the one the boy is trapped in.
They be lowered, by rope, two at a time, into the well. While deep in the ground the men will assess the conditions and dig further through towards the area where the boy is thought to be.
The men will be carrying oxygen cylinders and tools to dig. Each pair will stay beneath the ground for 30 minutes before being pulled back up and replaced by another pair.
Rescue workers are working against the clock to save the young boy who has been trapped deep in the abandoned well for four days
Efforts were made to dig a secondary well alongside the deep well the boy has fallen into., but the rig broke at around 33 feet in. The boy is thought to have slipped to a depth of 100 feet
Reporters on the scene say progress has been made on Monday evening, with workers breaking through the half-way point of 50 feet.
It is a sign of slow but steady progress in an operation that has faced several setbacks since the boy first became trapped.
Authorities said the child was wedged in a position about 30-feet deep when he first fell, before slipping in an upright standing position further into the well.
Local media reports suggest the young boy is now stuck 100 feet into the well, posing an additional challenge to the rescuers who are struggling with both the depth of the well, and the rocky ground.
Attempts to use robotic devices to lower ropes to latch onto the boy’s wrist failed on Saturday.
Workers used an oil drill to dig a hole parallel to the well on Sunday, but the rig broke down at around 33 feet deep because of the hard, rocky surface.
Images on social media show dozens of workers and at least two diggers at the site of the well where the boy remains trapped.
Tamil Nadu state’s health minister told reporters rescuers getting through the rock proved challenging.
‘Even the high powered rigs have struggled to break through the rock,’ he said.
‘We have just reached about 40 feet and the work has not progressed as planned. We have sought an advanced drill bit from Chennai and it will come soon. That will be an ultimate attempt,’ he said.
Meanwhile, workers will continue to try to also rescue the boy using a rope system, despite previous failed attempts.
The rocky ground is posing a challenge to workers who are trying to dig into the ground and find a way of pulling out the trapped toddler
Local reporters have said the mother is at the site calling to her son, asking him not to cry.
His mother, named by local media as Kalairani was also seen stitching a cloth bag, which rescuers hoped to use to bring the toddler up out of the well.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his concerns about the fate of the young boy after meeting with the rescuers.
‘My prayers are with the young and brave Sujith Wilson…Every effort is being made to ensure that he is safe,’ he said.
The incident is the latest in series of mishaps that have seen children accidentally fall into disused and uncovered wells in rural India.
In 2006 the rescue of a six-year-old child made headlines when he was recovered safely in Haryana state after being stuck in an 60-foot well for 48 hours.