Rescue teams in Morocco spent days trying desperately to reach five-year-old Rayan Oram after he fell into a deep well shaft his father was repairing in the small northern town of Tamorot.
The operation was made difficult because of a mixture of rocky and sandy soils in the area, which meant any interference with the well risked triggering a landslide. Emergency crews, including firefighters, helped to dig a separate horizontal tunnel leading to the well shaft in an attempt to safely access Rayan, who was trapped after plunging 32m (104ft) through the well’s narrow opening.
Rayan’s plight gripped the North African country for days, and thousands gathered at the scene to encourage rescuers, many of whom worked round the clock using powerful floodlights during the night.
Emergency crews finally reached Rayan four days after he became trapped, and the tragic news of the five-year-old’s death was confirmed in a royal statement.
Rescue teams joined hands as Rayan’s parents left the scene while his body was taken away by ambulance.