AFTER 13 days of round-the-clock rescue attempts, Julen’s rescue mission has come to a heartbreaking end after the toddler’s lifeless body was found today.
The two-year-old was found dead at 1.25 am this morning (Saturday) after the miners were finally able to connect the tunnel to the borehole where Julen was trapped.
Julen’s body was moved from the grounds by funeral services at around 4.20am and an autopsy will be carried out in the Anatomico Forense this morning.
The Guardia Civil will reportedly cover the well and the tunnel excavated to reach the child in the next few hours.
More information is set to be released during the day…
Julen rescue: An overview
The two-year-old’s body was found at 1.25am today (Saturday.
Guardia Civil spokesman, Jorge Martin, confirmed that it would be members of the Guardia Civil who enter the 110-metre borehole to find Julen.
Workers managed to break down the last piece of rock just before 11pm on Friday and continued the race to reach Julen.
Julen’s father reportedly suffered an anxiety attack, as medical services were called to the temporary location in which the parents are staying during the rescue.
Rescue attempts suffer more delays as explosives are, once again, used to break down a piece of rock separating them from where they believe the boy is trapped.
The Julen rescue entered the final stretch Friday afternoon. The tunnel reached a depth of 3.15 metres just after 5pm, putting them just centimetres from where they believe the child is. Spanish media reported two helicopters flying above the site where rescue workers were battling to free trapped 2-year-old Julen.
The rescue workers reached the 2.5-metre point 3.8-metre tunnel just after 2.30pm on Friday.
After working throughout Thursday night, workers reported early on Friday morning they had drilled through 1.5 metres in their efforts to reach the boy.
Before getting to that point, rescuers had been forced to fit 60 metres of safety tubing into a large hole running parallel to the well to allowed them to tunnel across to where they believe Julen is.
Efforts to reach that stage had hit several blockades on Tuesday and Wednesday, however, after specialists in charge of lowering safety tubing into the hole found it veered off at around 40 metres deep, preventing safety pipework from being fitted correctly.
This forced around 24 hours of delays in which workers had to refill and then re-drill the hole.
A second attempt on Wednesday hit a similar problem at around 52 metres deep but finally workers were finally able to lower in all the tubing.
Finally, on Thursday, workers were able to install a final 12 metres of extra tubing to the mouth of the hole to create an access platform.
After these safety precautions, specialists were lowered down the hole using a specially-constructed lift, before working by hand on a connecting tunnel to reach the hole Julen fell down on Sunday January 13.
Once inside the well, specialist miners were able to begin digging out the 3.8-metre connecting tunnel by hand in one-hour shifts.
Working on their knees using only pickaxes and some pneumatic tools, the tunnel was built at a downward incline, allowing specialists to reach Julen at a depth of 72 metres.
As minors worked throughout the night on Thursday, hundreds of locals and well-wishers, as well as Julen’s parents and relatives took part in a vigil near the operation.
While rescue attempts took place, a court in Malaga opened an investigation into exactly how the infant came to fall into the 110-metre hole in the Sierra de Totalan.
According to Spanish media, the inquiry began after the Guardia Civil took statements from Julen’s parents, Vicky Garcia and Jose Rosello, as well as the man thought to be responsible for drilling the hole, Antonio Sanchez, and the land’s owner, thought to be a relative of the family.
Vicky allegedly told police she was on her phone while her husband looked for kindling to start a fire to cook paella as Julen played just metres away with his small cousin before falling down the hole.
Outraged locals had already raised questions over why the speculative hole – which must be covered over by law – was left open.
The man allegedly responsible for digging the well told Spanish media he had covered the opening with stones and dirt but when he returned to the site later they had been moved.
However, the Junta de Andalucia told media they had no record of Sanchez’s company filing the necessary papers to carry out the prospecting works.
According to Spanish media, the regional department has no record of the borehole, and the local council also claimed to have no record of granting permission to create the hole.
A regional official told media prospecting holes must be sealed using, “a manhole cover,” or any other way of closing off the hole completely.
Several water prospecting companies allegedly told Spanish media it was common practice to simply cover boreholes with soil and rubble, however.
The incident reportedly occurred as the family from El Palo, Malaga, enjoyed a day out with family.
Police were quickly able to confirm Julen had fallen down the borehole after carrying out a reconstruction with family members and finding traces of the boy’s DNA and a bag of sweets down the hole.
Initial attempts to reach Julen encountered complications due to the width of the hole- just 25 centimetres in diameter- and after workers using a camera found a blockage at around 72-metres deep.
News of these difficulties saw experts from across the globe join the rescue attempts, debating the best course of action to reach the toddler, and working solidly throughout the days and nights.
Local residents in the Sierra de Totalan came out in large numbers to show their support for Julen’s family and resucers, even offering up their homes and food for workers to rest and eat.
During rescue efforts, Julen’s parents were reportedly being cared for by family and psychiatrists at a relative’s home.
The family had previously lost their only other child, Oliver aged 3, when he died of a sudden heart attack while walking along the street in Malaga with his parents in 2017.