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The five-year-old boy who was trapped in a well in Morocco has sadly died, the country’s royal palace has confirmed.
A statement described the youngster’s death as a ‘tragic accident’, saying: "His Majesty King Mohammed VI called the parents of the boy who died after falling down the well."
The royal palace added that the king has expressed his deepest condolences and sincere compassion.
The boy, who was called Rayan Awram, was pulled out of the well last night (Saturday 5 February), and was initially met with cheers from the crowd.
However, within minutes, officials confirmed he had died.
The youngster had fallen into a 105ft well outside his home in the village of Ighran, in Morocco’s mountainous northern Chefchaouen province, on Tuesday.
His father was repairing the well at the time of the accident, and said he and Rayan's mother were 'devastated and very worried'.
"In that one moment I took my eyes off him, the little one fell into the well. I haven't slept a wink", he told news site le360 on Wednesday.
Rayan was trapped in a hole too narrow for rescuers to reach safely, meaning crews had to use bulldozers to dig a parallel ditch over the course of three days.
On Friday, rescuers then started excavating a horizontal tunnel to reach him.
Work was temporarily halted because of fears that the soil surrounding the well could collapse on the boy, but later resumed.
Speaking yesterday afternoon, Abdesalam Makoudi - one of the rescue operation's leaders - said the end was in sight.
According to the BBC, he said: "We're almost there.
"We've been working non-stop for three days and tiredness is kicking in, but the whole rescue team is hanging on."
Rescuers also tried to get oxygen, food and water to Rayan, but it was not clear whether or not he had been able to use them.
Rayan's distraught parents were joined by hundreds of people who had gathered to watch the rescue operation.
His mum told reporters: "The whole family went out to look for him. Then we realised that he'd fallen down the well.
"I'm still keeping up hope that we'll get him out alive."
Nationwide, Moroccans took to social media to offer their hopes for the boy's survival, using the hashtag #SaveRayan, which has brought global attention to the rescue efforts.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock
Topics: World News
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