Rescue teams drawn from the national and State disaster response forces on Monday noon began a last-ditch effort to save two-year-old Sujith who lies, probably unconscious, at a depth of 88 feet in a borewell that he fell into on Friday evening.
As Deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvem camped all night at Nadukattupatti village in Tiruchi district where the tragedy has happened, Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar told reporters that efforts to dig a second borewell adjacent to the one where Sujith is in a critical condition had made little progress because two giant rigs deployed could not smash the hard rocks after digging up to a depth of 46 ft.
It had now been decided to use the borewell itself to break the rocks into rubble and remove them from the second well so that it could be dug further to a depth of 100 feet .
The two rigs supplied by Neyveli Lignite Corporation and the ONGC which had been in use since Friday morning got their blades blunted by the rocks. The rigs dug well at a rate of 10 ft per hour. The first rig was even slower and it started at 7.10 a.m. on Saturday and a second rig was deployed around midnight Sunday.
Officials are racing against time as no sign of life has been visible since 5.30 a.m on Saturday when breathing sound was heard, as Vijayabhaskar candidly admitted. So far 66 hours have elapsed since the boy fell into the borewell.
The Minister said the NDRF and SDRF as well as Tamil Government officials had decided to make a last- ditch attempt to use a giant borewell itself to blast its way through the rocks to a depth of 100 ft after which NLC officials would dig a horizonal tunnel to link up with the first well where the boy lies.
Three fire services department personnel have been readied to get down with gas masks and torches to reach the bottom of the second well. One has already gone down to inspect the nature of the rock. Besides, a naval diver from the NDRF would also be sent down during the final phase of rescue, reports said.
Though the boy may be barely alive, his hands have been tied in an air lock tightly to arrest further fall and he is held at 88 ft. Thermal cameras have been sent down generate heat. Oxygen is also being pumped but it has difficulty in reaching such depth.
Vijayabhaskar said the situation was critical but rescue efforts had to go on.