Ef­forts to res­cue boy from well on­go­ing

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YU in Shi­ji­azhuang zhangyu1@chi­nadaily.com.cn

By Wed­nes­day night, there were still no signs of a boy­who fell into a dry well in Baod­ing, He­bei province, on Sun­day morn­ing, de­spite res­cue ef­forts, au­thor­i­ties said.

“It is hard to pre­dict how long the res­cue op­er­a­tion will take due to com­plex sit­u­a­tions un­der­ground. The deeper we dig, the more dif­fi­cul­ties we en­counter,” Pang Zhi, head of Baod­ing Blue Sky Res­cue, said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day.

The 6-year-old boy fell into the 40-me­ter-deep well by accident when play­ing with his older sis­ter on farm­land in Zhong­mengchang vil­lage in Lix­ian county.

The boy’s fa­ther was work­ing on farm­land nearby when the in­ci­dent oc­curred.

More than 500 res­cue work­ers have par­tic­i­pated in the search op­er­a­tion, which has in­volved ex­ca­vat­ing the land around the well us­ing more than 140 ex­ca­va­tors and other ve­hi­cles.

Oxy­gen has also been sent into the well, said Wang Xiaodong, one of the res­cue work­ers at the site.

The well, about 35 cen­time­ters wide, was too small for res­cue work­ers to en­ter, so the only op­tion was to dig the land around it.

Ac­cord­ing to Luo Yun, a professor at China Uni­ver­sity of Geos­ciences Fac­ulty of En­gi­neer­ing, said that dig­ging the land around the well re­quires a huge amount of work, with ev­ery me­ter tak­ing about two hours to dig.

Res­cue work­ers said that more than 200,000 cu­bic me­ters of land has been ex­ca­vated.

In ad­di­tion, the land around the well is sandy soil, which poses a risk of the land col­laps­ing dur­ing dig­ging.

Luo Yun said more pro­fes­sional res­cue teams and im­proved tools for well res­cue are needed in China.

The boy’s grand­fa­ther, sur­named Li, said the well was used for ir­ri­ga­tion and had been aban­doned for five years.

“It was not filled and there was no cover on it or warn­ing sign be­side it when the accident hap­pened,” Li­was quoted as say­ing by Bei­jing News.

Bei­jing News said they had found many aban­doned wells like this in the area.

Vil­lagers said they re­move noz­zles on the top of dry wells and in­stall them on new ones, be­cause a noz­zle usu­ally costs 3,000 yuan ($443), which they con­sider ex­pen­sive.

There­fore, the tops of aban­doned wells are left open.

Zhang Yong, a res­cue team leader, said aban­doned wells should be filled in or­der to avoid po­ten­tial dan­ger.

HUO YAN’EN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Res­cue ef­forts to save a 6-year-old boy who fell into a dry well in Baod­ing, He­bei province, con­tin­ues onWed­nes­day.

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