No sign of boy who fell into well in India

No sign of boy who fell into well in India

Despite hours of frantic efforts, the rescuers could not yet get a sight of the four-year-old boy said to have been trapped at the bottom of a deep well in the capital's Shahjahanpur yesterday.

As a camera probed the well shaft, the nation waited anxiously with their fingers crossed and eyes glued to the live TV to see whether Jihad who allegedly fell inside the 17-inch diameter shaft, around 40 yards from his house, around 4:00pm while playing with other children.

Around 2:00am today, the camera completed its slide into the hole but there was no sign of the boy. The monitor showed some ragged clothes only.

The latest development gave rise to speculations whether the child fell at all into the well at Shahjahanpur Railway Colony.

There was confusion also about the depth of the well. The state minister for home said it was about 253 feet while some individuals who too sent a camera down the pit put the depth at over 600 feet.

The fire brigade personnel employed various techniques one after another, including lowering in a sack tied with a rope, hoping to pull out the boy but failed till 2:40am today.

"We are yet to find the boy. But we are still trying and we will lower in the camera again," fire service Director General Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan told reporters at 3:00am at the site.

A high-powered camera has failed to locate a four-year-old boy who allegedly fell into an abandoned well shaft at Shahjahanpur Railway Colony in Dhaka, prompting officials to doubt whether the child had at all fallen into the hole.

The camera could not go beyond 300 feet due to obstruction by the debris, the fire service DG told reporters.

In a second attempt, non-government experts sent another camera around 4:00am. It got obstructed again after reaching 240 feet, private television channel Ekattor TV reports quoting rescuers.

"From what we have seen from the footage of the camera, we can say there is no-one there," State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters around 2:45am, almost 11 hours after the rescue operation began.

"Though we can't see any human being there, we are not wrapping up our operation. We will remove the debris to be certain," said Ahmed.

Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Benazir Ahmed said police would probe whether the news was a hoax.

THE FALL

The hole reinforced with steel pipe would be used for pumping out underground water but had been abandoned for around a year with allegedly no lid over it.

Belal Hossain, who first informed the Fire Service and Civil Defence of the incident, said while he was going to his shop by the playground around 4:10pm, a little girl named Fatema ran to him and said one of her playmates had fallen inside the hole.

He immediately raised an alarm to gather more people. They tried to pull out the boy using a rope but failed.

Then around 4:35pm, Belal informed the firemen, who quickly reached the spot.

Talking to journalists, Iftekhar Alam, superintendent engineer of BADC, said there might be water after 240 feet of the shaft of the abandoned well.

STILL ALIVE?

Major AKM Shakil Newaz, director operations of the Fire Service and Civil Defence, was overseeing the rescue operation conducted by six firefighting units.

He said the boy is believed to be stuck 400-foot deep inside the well.

People who were present there said they could hear whimpers and cries of a boy from inside the shaft.

Talking to Ekattor TV at 1:45am, Fire Service DG Ali Ahmed said they recorded the response of the child around 11:15pm.

OXYGEN, JUICE PACKETS SENT

Juice packets were sent and oxygen was being pumped into the hole to keep the boy alive.

Ekattor TV reported quoting fire fighters that the trapped child had drunk the juice.

FRANTIC EFFORTS

Fire service personnel with the help of police made several abortive attempts to pull out the boy by lowering in a rope with a sack tied to it.

Out of five times the rope was sent in, the kid grabbed it twice but could not hold on to it, Ekattor TV reported quoting rescuers.

To make rooms, the rescuers pulled 350 feet of a three-inch diameter pipe from the well shaft.

With hopes dimming fast, a volunteer attempted to climb down the well shaft minutes before the clock ticked zero hours.

But authorities of the Fire Service did not let volunteer Bashir Ahmed, who worked to rescue many trapped workers at the collapsed Rana Plaza in Savar, considering the risk involved in it.

Rescuers later decided to send a specialised tool named 'catcher' to rescue Jihad.

A team of experts from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) headed the effort to build the tool which has a hook at the end of three steel plates.

But before sending 'catcher', the rescuers decided to take a look where in the well the child was remaining trapped.

They sent in a specialised camera, which is owned by Dhaka Wasa, into the hole. It was sent twice but yielded only images of gunny sack and gecko.

After the Dhaka Wasa officials took away its camera, a group of non-government experts sent in another camera to be certain about the trapped boy. But their camera also could not find any trace of Jihad. Instead it sent images of cock sheet and a headphone.

They tried to clear the hole by removing the objects but were not successful till filing of this report at 6:20am.

Meanwhile, senior sub-assistant engineer of Bangladesh Railway Jahangir Alam was suspended for negligence in duty. The contractor firm responsible for plugging the hole was blacklisted.

JIHAD TRAPPED, FAMILY INSISTS

After seeing images sent by Dhaka Wasa camera, Abu Sayeed Raihan, joint director of National Security Intelligence, termed the news of Jihad's falling in the shaft as "rumour".

State Minister Kamal's statement later that no human being has been seen inside made the shocked family of Jihad aggrieved.

Jihad's mother Khadiza Begum, who was wailing all the while, rushed to the spot.

"Please don't stop the rescue operation now. Please get him out of there," she started to cry at the top of her voice.

She, at this time, pointed out that the rescuers told her about hearing Jihad's voice from the well and sending in juice and torchlight.

"How can the boy, all on a sudden, just vanishes from there?" she cried.

Meanwhile, relatives said police picked up Zahid's father Nasiruddin in a police van around 3:15am from near their house.

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