Two-year-old Sujith Wilson, who fell into an abandoned borewell in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirappalli district on Friday, was rescued dead early this morning after 82 hours of non-stop rescue efforts.
His decomposing body was was taken straight to the cemetery for a funeral after doctors at the Manaparai Government Hospital conducted an autopsy.
Three ministers offered floral tributes to the child outside the hospital. A large number of people gathered at the cemetery ahead of the funeral.
The rescue was called off after a stench emanated from the old borewell, suggesting the child had died. “Dismembered body parts only were pulled using hooks and ropes through the same borewell the boy remained trapped. We did not drill any further,” a senior official said.
The toddler fell into the borewell on Friday around 5:45 pm while playing on the family’s farm. Initially, he was trapped at a depth of 26 feet but slipped to 88 feet during attempts to pull him up by tying ropes around his hands.
After several groups – fire and rescue department, NDRF, SDRF (State Disaster Response Force), ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation), (state-run mining company) NLC and several others worked relentlessly from Friday evening, the government has been criticised that it missed the crucial golden hour period adopting a trial-and-error approach.
Initially a robotic rescue devices and prior rescue experience, attempted to pull the boy out by trapping his hand in a rope. However, the boy slipped and fell deeper into the well. Only after these unsuccessful attempts, the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF were called in. The decision to dig a wider borewell was taken on Saturday and drilling work began only on Sunday.
Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said, “We deployed the best technology”.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi too in a tweet assured that all efforts were being made to rescue the boy.
India has millions of illegal borewell, of which thousands are abandoned. Laws governing borewells are most often not implemented, and if when tragedy occurs authorities take days to act.