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Emergency workers scramble to rescue Indian boy trapped in well for 4 days

RAIPUR, INDIA (AFP) - Indian emergency workers were scrambling on Tuesday (June 14) to rescue a 10-year-old boy with hearing and speech impairments who had been trapped in a narrow well for four days.

Rahul Sahu fell down the 24m-deep waterhole last Friday while playing in the backyard of his house in the central state of Chhattisgarh.

Earth movers and cranes were helping dig a tunnel next to the well, which is only a couple of feet wide, with army soldiers and members of India's disaster response agency lending their assistance.

But bad weather - and venomous snakes and scorpions unearthed by the dig - have hampered rescue efforts.

Rahul was "responding well" to rescuers. A camera is monitoring his condition and movements, according to Janjgir district police chief Vijay Agrawal.

"Since the boy cannot speak or listen, we have a bigger challenge," he said.

An oxygen pipe is feeding Rahul fresh air, but the tunnelling effort has been slowed down by hard stone underneath the ground.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said he was hopeful Rahul would be brought up from the well alive and tweeted that the boy had eaten a banana sent down to him by rescuers.

Uncovered wells are a common feature of Indian farming villages but are frequently implicated in fatal accidents involving young children.

In 2019, a two-year-old toddler was pulled out dead from a well after a four-day rescue effort in the northern state of Punjab. That same year, a 1½-year-old child was rescued in neighbouring Haryana state after being trapped for two days.