Toddler trapped in Indian well dies

A two-year-old boy trapped for nearly 90 hours down a 150ft deep well in northern India died before army rescuers could reach him, a doctor said today.

Sonu Kumar fell into the disused well last Thursday and got stuck at a depth of 70ft, said Anil Kumar, the district magistrate.

The rescue operation was made difficult because soft soil caved in several times while a tunnel was being dug to reach the boy, Mr Kumar said.

Rescuers had fed oxygen through a pipe to help keep the toddler alive while the army dug the tunnel, he said. The boy stopped responding to his parents’ voices on Saturday and they feared he may have lost consciousness.

“Kumar has died,” said Ashok Kumar Shukla, a doctor involved in the rescue operation, after the army pulled out the body today.

The well was in Leharkapurwa, near Agra, 400km south-west of Lucknow, the state capital of Uttar Pradesh. It was dug by the Water Works Department last summer but abandoned because it dried up, officials said.

Government spokesman Diwakar Tripathi said the contractor who dug the well has been arrested and two engineers involved were suspended from work.

There have been several cases of children falling into abandoned wells in Indian villages while their parents were busy working in farms.

Two years ago, soldiers saved a boy who fell into a narrow, 60ft deep irrigation shaft and was trapped there for 50 hours.


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