Rayan, a Moroccan child stuck in a well, is being rescued in the last phases.

By Shaista
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Moroccan rescuers labored through the night into Saturday to save Rayan, a five-year-old boy trapped underground in a well, on the fifth day of an increasingly urgent and nerve-wracking attempt.

Residents of the North African monarchy have been enthralled by the intricate, sluggish, and dangerous earth-moving project, which has generated a worldwide outpouring of concern.

On Tuesday afternoon, Rayan plunged 32 meters (100 feet) down a tight, empty hole near his house in the rural village of Ighrane in Chefchaouen province.

Rescuers have excavated almost all the way down with bulldozers and front-end loaders, but the final two meters are the most challenging due to the possibility of landslides.

There has been no word on the boy's face, but the more time passes, the more concerns grow over whether he will be found alive.

Crews moved a large pipe into place in the region during the night.

"We're almost there," said Abdesalam Makoudi, one of the operation's leaders, adding, "tiredness is setting in, but the entire rescue crew is hanging on."

Getting things done in the dark
At an elevation of roughly 700 meters, a glacial chill has gripped this hilly and impoverished region of Rif.

AFP correspondents said the anxiety was evident as thousands of people gathered around the location, which was flanked by olive trees. Some cheered in support of the rescuers.

The shaft was too narrow to reach Rayan, and enlarging it would be too dangerous, so earthmovers built a large slope into the hill to reach him from the side.

The terrain has taken on the appearance of a building site as a result of the operation. Engineers and topographers are involved, and the mix of rocky and sandy soils adds to the complexity.

Civil Defence men wearing red helmets have been hanging by a rope, as if on a cliff face.

They are also excavating a horizontal tunnel to reach the pocket where Rayan is, local police said, working nonstop through the darkness and under powerful floodlights that give the area a grim appearance.

'Moving a mountain' Rayan's father told public broadcaster 2M on Friday evening, "I keep up hope that my child will get out of the well alive." "I'd like to express my gratitude to everyone involved, as well as those who have supported us in Morocco and internationally."

Rayan had been playing nearby when he vanished on Tuesday afternoon, according to the boy's mother, who informed Moroccan media.

"The whole family ran out looking for him, and then we realized he'd fallen down the well," she explained, her eyes welling up with sorrow.

The event has inspired a flood of sympathy on social media, with the Arabic hashtag #SaveRayan trending across North Africa.

"Rescuers are in the process of literally moving a mountain to save #Rayan. I hope their efforts are not in vain, and those who prayed for him will have their prayers answered "a user on the internet wrote

The boy's fate has drawn large crowds to the spot, where supporters are camping and parked cars line the highways around the village.

Police reinforcements have been dispatched, and the throngs of bystanders have hampered the rescuers' attempts at times.

The public has been urged to "let the rescuers do their job and save this child," according to authorities.

However, one volunteer stated that he was there to assist. "We've been at this location for three days. Rayan is a native of our area. We're not going anywhere till he's out of the well "he stated

In early 2019, a two-year-old toddler died after slipping down an abandoned well that was 25 centimetres wide and more than 70 metres deep in Spain.

Julen Rosello's body was discovered following a 13-day search and rescue operation.

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