Photo: Escuela de Ingeniería de Minas, Energía y Materiales de Oviedo.
Updated 26 January: Spain this morning is mourning the discovery of the body of the little boy who fell down a borehole on 13 January. Experts say that he was found just before half past one last night, a near fortnight after the whole country started to endure the terrible wait and desperate hope that he might somehow have survived the fall. An autopsy is being performed this morning but it is expected to show that the child died on the day he fell. Messages have been pouring in, not just from throughout Spain but from around the world, of support and gratitude for the rescue and recovery teams, and above all of sympathy for the little boy’s poor parents who have now lost their second child.
The Guardia Civil has expressed its gratitude to all the members of the rescue teams who gave everything they had to try to get to Julen in the hope of finding him alive. They say they are beyond sad that everyone’s dreams could not be realised but that the example given by the rescuers’ efforts, determination and courage will stay with them forever. The Guardia Civil has released this video showing some of the conditions in which they were working,
Updated 25 January 10.15pm: They are very close now to the “pozo” (the well shaft/airhole) where they believe Julen is and after a few very minor explosions to clear a way, they are now effectively mining with their bare hands to avoid disturbing earth to put the child at risk … they are centimetres away they think. A microcamera has been sent through to the pozo but they will be working overnight now to reach the child. Psychologists are assisting the family, and the whole of Spain is following this, another overnighter, but perhaps the last one.
Original post 25 January 00.15 I don’t know how many will be aware that there’s an incredible “rescue” operation going on in southern Spain, where miners are digging down 100m or so down a shaft to continue then to tunnel sideways to an airhole (it is hoped) where a two year old boy, Julen, is thought to have landed after falling down a borehole for a well on his uncle’s land.
They believe Julen is there because they’ve found traces of skin on the walls of the borehole which is where he disappeared while with his parents. There has been no sign of life however, and we are now at Day 11 of this operation. His parents, I understand, have already lost one child to a heart attack while undergoing surgery so it’s unimaginable what they’re going through right now.
One of the teams involved in this drilling, in which a cage is being sent down the vertical shaft parallel to the well, was involved in the rescue of Los 33 – the Chilean miners. They all came out alive despite all the odds being against them so …
Anyone who wants to follow it live, I’m sure there are loads of outlets but there’s the following one from La Vanguardia: