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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 July 2006, 20:53 GMT 21:53 UK
Child rescued from well in India
Prince is carried away to safety
A picture of the boy being taken to safety

Army engineers in northern India have rescued a little boy trapped down a 60-foot (18-metre) village well for two days in the northern state of Haryana.

The five-year-old boy, named only as Prince, had been playing close to the bore well near the town of Kurukshetra when he fell in.

Soldiers dug a parallel shaft and reached the boy late on Sunday.

Closed-circuit cameras lowered into the well showed the boy appeared unharmed and he was fed chocolate and milk.

After he emerged into daylight, the boy was carried through the crowds of people who had gathered to see him and reunited with his family.

Looking tired and confused the little boy had little idea his fate had captivated the nation, the BBC's Navdip Dhariwal says.

Cries

"We are pumping in oxygen and also feeding the child milk and chocolates," police inspector Vir Singh told the Reuters news agency earlier on Sunday.

Boy trapped down bore well
The boy looks up at a CCTV camera

Some reports say the operation was slowed down because of concerns that the sandy soil could be dislodged in the final stages of the operation, putting the boy's life at risk.

Villagers first realised something was wrong when they heard his cries on Friday.

Construction workers had left the bore well, close to the village well, uncovered on Friday before the boy went to play in the area, locals say.

When he slipped in he slithered down the narrow shaft, managing to escape serious injury. The bottom of the well is dry.

One effort simply to pull him out failed because the shaft is not wide enough.

The shaft built by the engineers was approximately seven feet long and connects to bottom of the wide village well to the borehole.

National concern

The rescue operation gripped the nation's media.

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Some TV channels have pulled their schedules to devote live coverage to it.

The coverage showed the boy looking around timidly, munching on the chocolate and drinking milk from a can.

Thousands of people have been sending messages to TV stations, wishing luck to the rescuers.

"Ever since I saw him on your channel yesterday, I have been crying. I can't think of anything else. He is a brave child, I would not have survived if I was in his place," a caller to Zee News, Shashi Jain, said.

Prayers were said around the country.

The chief minister of Haryana state, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, joined the family and other well-wishers at the scene.

He said fire fighters from Mumbai (Bombay) had been called to add their expertise to the operation.




SEE ALSO
Country profile: India
09 May 06 |  Country profiles




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