Heartbroken family and friends have gathered for the funeral of a two-year-old boy whose body was found after a heroic 10-day recovery effort after he fell 230 feet down a well in Spain.
Hundreds of mourners gathered at the cemetery in El Palo, Malaga, Spain, where the body of Julen Rosello was taken by hearse last night.
His devastated father, Jose, was seen being comforted by friends in the square outside the cemetery, before clutching a football as he sat down for the service.
Engineers, police and miners had been working round-the-clock to reach Julen after he plunged down a narrow, illegal well on January 13 as his parents prepared lunch nearby in Totalan, a southern town near Malaga.
Hundreds of mourners today gathered at the cemetery in El Palo, Malaga, Spain, where the body of Julen Rosello was taken by hearse last night. At the centre of this image (being comforted) is his father, Jose
Julen’s distraught father Jose holds a football as he grieves his son during the funeral service, which was attended by hundreds of well-wishers
Spain has been gripped by the complex search-and-rescue operation fraught with technical difficulties that caused delay upon delay as Julen’s distraught parents and relatives stood by. Pictured: Mourners at his funeral today
The body of Julen Rosello, two, was found in the early hours of Saturday morning. He is seen here in undated family photos
Julen’s body is taken through the streets of El Palo and towards the cemetery today as mourners watch on in silence
An attendee at the funeral speaks to police officers who were guarding the ceremony. Julen’s post-mortem was carried out yesterday, suggested he most likely died when he fell down the well
The rescue team ‘found the lifeless body of the little one’ in the early hours of Saturday morning, the central government’s representative in the southern region of Andalusia, wrote on Twitter.
‘Not another time, no,’ shouted his father Jose, according a photographer, after the child’s body was found. His parents lost another child, Oliver, aged three, in 2017. The child had cardiac problems.
Julen had barely turned seven months old when his older brother died.
His mother Vicky held Oliver for three hours after his death in the children’s hospital, according to Spanish media.
The parents – who ‘dreamed of one day having a big family’ – visit Oliver’s grave every week and talk to him for hours.
They say they’re now praying Oliver is watching over his little brother from heaven and keeping him safe.
Julen fell before hitting a layer of earth, the local government said, adding that an investigation was underway to determine any ‘potential liabilities’ in the two-year-old’s death.
A post-mortem was carried out yesterday, the results of which will be communicated to the judge investigating the case.
Local daily Malaga Hoy, citing sources, however, said the post-mortem found Julen died on the same day he fell from a ‘traumatic brain injury’.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wrote on Twitter: ‘All of Spain feels the infinite sadness of Julen’s family. We have followed closely every step to reach him.
‘We will always appreciate the tireless efforts of those who looked for him over the past days. My support and affection to his parents and loved ones.’
In a tweet, Spain’s King Felipe VI extended his ‘deepest condolences to Julen’s whole family’.
The Civil Guard police force, whose explosives experts helped elite miners to dig a tunnel to reach Julen, expressed sadness that the operation had not had a happy end.
‘Unfortunately, despite so much effort by so many people, it wasn’t possible…’ it wrote on its official account.
Jose Rosello, Julen’s father, walks through the huge crowds of locals and other wellwishers who attended his son’s funeral service today in El Palo near Malaga
In a tweet, Spain’s King Felipe VI extended his ‘deepest condolences to Julen’s whole family’. Pictured: A mourner at today’s service
People gather beneath the gates of the cemetery in El Palo were Julen Rosello’s funeral was taking place this afternoon
Julen’s body arrives outside the gates of the cemetery in El Palo yesterday where it was moved to a funeral chapel before today’s service
Julen’s parents clasp a ball as they wait for the arrival of their son’s body yesterday after a harrowing and drawn-out rescue operation
Spain has been gripped by the complex search-and-rescue operation fraught with technical difficulties that caused delay upon delay as Julen’s distraught parents and relatives stood by.
It was ‘a colossal mission,’ regional government spokesman Gomez de Celis told reporters yesterday morning, 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’.
There had been no sign of life from the boy but rescuers believed they knew where he was inside the well, which was dug by an entrepreneur – most likely without government permission.
The only evidence of the boy’s presence was some strands of hair that matched his DNA and a bag of sweets he had been holding when he fell into the well.
Rescuers were not able to get to Julen via the well he fell down because it was blocked by a layer of earth, sand and stones believed to have been dislodged when he tumbled in.
After unsuccessfully trying to suck up the blockage using machines, they decided to dig a vertical shaft parallel to the well and then dig a four-yard tunnel to join both channels.
Despite the passage of time, the boy’s relatives held out hope that Julen had somehow survived the fall and would be found alive.
An investigation into the circumstances of his fall into the unmarked, illegally-dug well – one of many in Andalusia – will be carried out by an investigating judge.
A minute’s silence was hold for Julen at 11am on Saturday.
This footage – taken yesterday – showed engineers drilling through the rock to get through to the well where Julen’s body was found
The Civil Guard released this footage showing rescue workers trying to reach the two-year-old boy
The baby fell into this 15-inch wide borehole on the estate on the outskirts of Malaga
Rescuers searching for Julen used explosives to reach the space where he was stuck (pictured, the rescue site on Friday )