Rescuers in southern Spain are digging a horizontal tunnel in an attempt to reach the bottom of a deep and narrow borehole where they hope to find a two-year-old toddler, two days after he disappeared.
Crews have been unable to get into the borehole, which is no wider than 25 centimetres (10 inches) in diameter and is believed to go down more than 100 metres (330 feet). On Monday afternoon, they were deploying three different approaches to reach the bottom of the well but without damaging its structure or blocking it with soil and rocks, local authorities said.
The hole, which is too narrow for an adult to enter, had been bored a month earlier during water prospection works and had not been covered or protected, local media reported.
Maria Gamez, Spain’s top official in the Malaga province, said that firefighters using a robot camera in the early hours of Monday found a bag of candy that the boy was carrying when he went missing. It was some 75 metres down the shaft, where rescuers were unable to get their equipment further down.
She says a hard rock has impeded machinery from passing beyond the 80-metre mark down the borehole.
Gamez says the new tunnel will help rescuers who failed to extract soil from the well with heavy suctioning machinery during overnight works.
According to rescuers, the boy fell into the hole early Sunday afternoon after walking away from his parents while playing in a mountainous area near the town of Totalan, northeast of the city of Malaga.
Asked whether the investigation is also considering any other reasons for the boy’s disappearance, Molto told reporters that the authorities’ priorities are “searching, locating and rescuing the boy.”