A small boy trapped in a well in northern Moroccan for five days has died before rescuers were able to get him out late on Saturday and retrieve his body.
Footage posted on social media showed the scene after his body was recovered, with hundreds of distraught rescue workers at the site.
Rayan Awram, aged five, fell into the well at his village of Ighran in the hills near Chefchaouen on Tuesday, triggering a huge rescue effort.
Rescuers finally reached him late on Saturday after removing much of the adjacent hillside and delicately tunnelling a horizontal passage into the well.
King Mohammed sent condolences to his parents, a statement carried by state media reported.
The well was only 45 cm (18 inches) wide at the top and tapered as it dropped 32 metres (100 feet) to the bottom, where Rayan was trapped, making it impossible for rescuers to descend directly.
A male relative of the boy said on Friday that the family had first realised that he was missing when they heard cries and lowered a phone with its light to locate him.
“He was crying ‘lift me up’,” the relative said.
Crowds had gathered in a vigil at the scene to watch the rescue effort as hundreds of workers toiled to save the child. Across the country, Moroccans followed the saga on television in homes and cafes.
“I am so sad to learn Rayan has died. Sincere condolences to the parents,” said Abderrahim Sabihi, a Rabat resident who was following the rescue effort from a cafe.
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