Chinese boy, 5, dies despite 14-hour rescue mission after he fell into deep-water well

Firefighters dig and drill into narrow, uncovered shaft that may have been used for irrigation – but reach him too late

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2018, 2:10pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2018, 3:26pm

A boy who fell into a deep-water well in eastern China died on Wednesday after firefighters worked overnight to rescue him, according to local newspaper reports.

The five-year-old boy had been stuck in the 100-metre (330ft) well for over 14 hours when he was rescued early on Wednesday morning in Jinzhongzi county, Shandong province, Qilu Evening News reported.

The well was only 20cm in diameter, and the boy, whose name was not disclosed, was stuck about 6 metres from the top, according to the report.

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The well did not have a cover and there were no warning signs around it, according to The Beijing News.

“It could be a well for irrigation built by farmers – it’s so deep because there has been a drought for four years and the groundwater level is low,” a government spokesman told news portal Thepaper.cn.

Firefighters initially caught one of the boy’s arms with rope, but the well was too narrow for him to be dragged out safely, according to Qilu Evening News.

They had to use a dozen excavators and crushers to dig away the soil surrounding the well and drill it open from the side next to the boy. He was sent to hospital, where doctors declared him dead.

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The child was collecting wild vegetables with his family when he fell into the well at around 4pm on Tuesday, villagers told the newspaper.

More than 30 incidents of people falling into wells have been reported in Shandong province since 2013, it said. Many of the cases involved children falling into deserted irrigation wells on farmland.