THE on-going rescue of two-year-old Julen, who fell into a well in Totalan, Malaga, on Sunday, has become more complicated due to the instability of the land.
According to reports, the initial rescue plans had to be modified last night as the hunt for the toddler in the 107-metre shaft approached its fifth day.
Originally, a tunnel was to be dug out horizontally on the side of the mountain to access the area, 25 cm in diameter, where the child is believed to be.
But fearing this would cause landslides, it has been decided to continue with the ‘suction of more land’, and then pipe or ‘jack up’ the well.
This involves placing a huge tube inside the well, before drilling another vertical well in parallel.
Platforms will then be created to allow rescue personnel to excavate manually.
On Tuesday, those in charge of the operation said they hoped Julen would be located within 48 hours, but no longer want to ‘anticipate times’.
Speaking to Spanish press, a spokesman said ‘we work with a very complex orography, both geographically and geologically and are finding rocks or less hard materials that favour going slower or faster.’ He added that it is important ‘to work safely, so I do not want to venture to say how long it will take’.
But the delegate of the School of Mines in Malaga, Juan Lopez Escobar, said the works would not be ready in less than three days, pointing out that under normal conditions, ‘these jobs would take a month to develop’.
Julen had been enjoying a day out with his parents, whose other three-year-old son died of a heart attack last year, when he fell into a ‘speculative hole’ dug during a search for water.
Outraged locals are now querying why hole – which is required by law to be covered – was left open. The man allegedly responsible for digging the well, Antonio Sanchez, told Spanish media he had covered the opening with stones and dirt.
On Tuesday, a human hair was found and DNA confirmed it belonged to Julen.