Punjab: Pulled out of borewell after 109 hours, two-year-old declared dead

Raakhi Jagga
Fatehveer fell into the unused borewell in his father s field near their house at around 4.00 pm Thursday. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

Stuck in an over 120-foot deep borewell for 109 hours, a two-year-old infant was declared dead after being rescued Tuesday morning in Sangrur district. With his hands clamped with a rope, Fatehveer Singh was brought out after the operation to rescue him through a parallel tunnel dug up closeby failed. He was taken to PGI Chandigarh in an air ambulance, where he was declared dead.

Moments, after he was pulled out at 5, am, the family members, meanwhile, had apprehended that they did not see any movement in the child s body and lost all hopes. He was declared dead two hours later.

Read | Protests erupt in Sangrur after two-year-old stuck in borewell dies

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team, which conducted the rescue operation, had initially thought of using a rope to pull Fatehveer out but went against it suspecting injuries to the child. However, on June 6, a rope was then suspended in the borewell which had even gripped the hands of the child, but he could not be pulled out. Deputy Commissioner Sangrur Ghanshyam Thori said, "This method was followed on day one, but the team could not succeed and it was tried almost every day, but as the child couldn t be retrieved via clamping, they were following another method of creating a parallel borewell and reaching the borewell via a tunnel.

NDRF had made a vertical shaft of reinforced cement concrete (RCC) pipes of 36-inch diameter and dug parallel to the pit Fatehveer fell into, reaching the required depth on Sunday itself. On Monday, NDRF rescue personnel made several attempts to reach the child but were unsuccessful due to the presence of two to three parallel bores close-by.

Along with the NDRF, about 200 volunteers of Green Force of Dera Sacha Sauda had also been roped in to dig parallel borewell manually.

Protest breaks out in village

Moments after the dead body of the child was brought to his village, people began protesting by blocking roads and blamed the administration for a failed operation. However, the family members of the child urged people to not protests, " I am thankful to the administration as well as people who did help to take our Fateh. Now, I appeal to people not to do any protests and hence don’t trouble common man by doing traffic jam. Please don’t resort to any violence. I appeal all with folded hands. Let the child rest in peace," said Rohi Singh, grandfather of the child.

"We tried to clamp the child soon after the accident. The first hand was clamped in 2.5 hours while second hand in 10 hours after the accident. However, we never wanted to use force to pull him up and hence NDRF started digging a parallel tunnel. In all, clamping was tried 116 times. We tried it on Tuesday morning as well and it worked and the child was pulled out," said Thori.

Fatehveer fell into the unused borewell in his father s field near their house at around 4.00 pm Thursday. The opening of the borewell, which had not been taken in use since 1991, was covered with a jute bag and the boy accidentally stepped on it. His mother tried to rescue him but failed.

The borewell was dug by Fatehveer s family in 1984. They used to draw water from it to irrigate the fields. It was last used in 1991.