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Surjeet’s rescue: Robots failed; ONGC rig is last resort
Tamil Nadu

Surjeet’s rescue: Robots failed; ONGC rig is last resort

Agency News

After the failure of four robotic devices, the rescue team guided by the Government officials are now give more hope on ONGC rig to break down the rocky surface in the parallel hole to reach at toddler Sujith who remained stuck at a depth of nearly 100-feet in an unused 600-feet deep borewell for over 40 hours at Nadukattupatti village in Tiruchirapalli district of Tamil Nadu, began on Sunday morning.

Earlier the move to dig a parallel hole to rescue him was brought to a halt over the rocky terrain. The help of 4 separate robotic devices were sought to reach at Sujith on Saturday. But all these missions failed.

Four youngsters hail from different parts of Tamil Nadu approached officials offering free service of robotic devices to pull Sujith out of the borewell. Four groups led by Mandikandan from Madurai, Daniel from Namakkal, Sridhar from Coimbatore, and Venkatesh from Chennai, have attempted to use machines they specially developed for the purpose of rescuing child from the borewell. The roboit machines’ services were allowed for ropes to be lowered and tighten around the wrist of the child to pull him out.

But government officials who are in charge of rescuing efforts said that the attempt failed due to technical reasons. The 600-feet deep borewell gets narrower after about 25 feet. So the child already stuck around 100 feet down cannot be pulled up by these machines.

Reports suggest that the wet mud on the child's hands have further made it difficult for the machines to get a grip on him. Machines rescuing mission generally depend on the child's strength and ability to hold on. But as Sujith is a toddler, officials do not expect him to respond intelligently to such an action.

Currently the NDRF and SDRF are planning to break down the rocky surface in the parallel hole to get through to the child.  Rescue personnel are currently continuously pumping oxygen into the well. Now, NDRF and SDRF team depend on a rig supplied by ONGC that will be used to break into the rocky surface. It will take some time to complete the mission.

Health Minister Vijayabhaskar told reporters after 24 hours passed that a final attempt was being made with the help of Neyveli Lignite Corporation and ONGC experts to dig a parallel well with the help of rigs and try and reach the boy.

He said a well of three-metre diameter parallel to the well, in which the boy is trapped, was being dug with pile foundation and build a horizontal tunnel to reach the boy at that height.” It will take at least three to four hours to sink a 80 ft well. If hard rocks are encountered, it will take another couple of hours”.

Attempts to reach the boy by excavating nearby areas with the help of earth movers were called off after the machines hit a hard layer of rock.

By then seven hours had passed and Health Secretary Dr Radhakrishnan contacted NDRF commander Rekha Nambiar who sent a 20-member team from Arakonam which reached the site around noon. She said it was a problem peculiar to India and they had to use indigenous technology.

Dr Vijayabhaskar said that no sound had come from the child for the last 12 hours as he was covered with loose, wet mud. Breathing sound was last heard at 5.30 am. More oxygen was being pumped into the well to help the boy to breathe.

Tamil Nadu Fire Services DGP Gandhi Rajan has reached the spot. He said a trained expert from his department would be sent down through the parallel well once it was ready as use of robotic arm failed to lift the boy.

The Rs 8 crore rig would reach the village to rig a parallel one-metre diameter well upto 80 feet with a gap of three metres from the one in which the boy is trapped. “It’s a great challenge and a combined decision has been taken by the NDRF and SDRF teams as well as the DGP ”.

Ambulances and doctors are standing by to take the boy to Manaparai hospital if he is rescued. The parents are in prayers.Similar prayers are being held at temples, churches and mosques all over the State.