Two-year-old Sujith Wilson, who was trapped in an abandoned borewell in Tamil Nadu since Friday, 25 October, has been reported dead. His body was retrieved by rescue officials in the wee hours of Tuesday, 29 October, after intense rescue efforts that lasted four days.
Commissioner of Revenue Administration J Radhakrishnan said the body of the child was “dismembered” and in a “highly decomposed” state.
“We tried our best to rescue him but unfortunately a foul smell had started coming from the borewell in which the child had fallen,” Radhakrishnan told ANI.
Sujith had fallen into the disused farm borewell while playing near his house in Nadukattupatti on Friday evening, 25 October, and various central and state agencies were called in to rescue him.
Intense Rescue Ops Across 4 Days
Attempts to rescue the child became increasingly difficult as he was initially stuck at a depth of 26 feet and then slipped further to 85 feet, TNM reported. Over a dozen rescue teams including the NDRF, SDRF and private experts were pressed into service.
On 27 October, it was reported that Sujith had fainted, but was still breathing.
A rig machine was being used to carry out drilling near the well, but it was damaged due to the presence of rocks. Following this, a high-speed engine was brought from Ramanathapuram to complete the drilling, ANI reported, quoting Panneerselvam.
A parallel pit up to 65 feet was being dug to rescue Sujith, but around 9:30 pm on Monday, a decomposed smell began emanating from the original borewell, officials told TNM.
A medical team was sent inside, and they told officials that the body was dismembered and had decomposed. A decision was taken then to stop digging and extract Sujith’s body from the borewell.
Health Minister C Vijayabaskar and his Cabinet colleagues had been camping at the site since Saturday, and top government officials led by Radhakrishnan were overseeing the rescue efforts.
Leaders of political parties including MDMK chief Vaiko and local Congress MP Jothimani had also been monitoring the rescue operations.
Hours after he was trapped, Sujith's mother Kala Mary was asked to speak to Sujith while he was still responding.
“Don’t cry, please don’t cry for a little while. I will take you out, Amma will take you out. I’m right here on top,” she had said to him, as quoted by TNM. Sujith, who was trapped at the depth of 26-feet then, had responded.
Kala had also stitched a white cloth bag that rescuers said could help lift her son.
Sujith's father, Britto Arockiaraj, who had gotten the borewell dug a few years ago was reportedly seen blaming himself for the mishap. He was attending to the rescue officials and attending to the politicians that were visiting.
The Nation Prayed for Sujith
The news of Sujith’s death shocked a nation that had been glued to TV channels for four days, praying for his speedy rescue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to Twitter to share his hope for the boy.