Indian emergency workers were scrambling Tuesday to rescue a 10-year-old boy with hearing and speech impairments who has been trapped down a narrow well for four days.
Rahul Sahu fell down the 24-metre waterhole on Friday while playing in the backyard of his house in the central state of Chhattisgarh.
Earth movers and cranes are helping dig a tunnel next to the well, which is only a couple of feet wide, with army soldiers and members of India's disaster response agency lending their assistance.
But bad weather - and venomous snakes and scorpions unearthed by the dig - have hampered rescue efforts, local officials said.
Sahu was "responding well" to rescuers and a camera is monitoring his condition and movements, Janjgir district police chief Vijay Agrawal told AFP by phone from the scene.
"Since the boy cannot speak or listen, we have a bigger challenge," he added.
An oxygen pipe is feeding Sahu fresh air, but a government spokesman said the tunnelling effort had been slowed down by hard stone underneath the ground.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said he was hopeful Sahu would be brought up from the well alive and tweeted that the boy had eaten a banana sent down to him by rescuers.
Uncovered wells are a common feature of Indian farming villages but are frequently implicated in fatal accidents involving young children.
In 2019, a two-year-old toddler was pulled out dead from a well after a four-day rescue effort in the northern state of Punjab.
The same year a one-and-a-half-year-old child was rescued in neighbouring Haryana state after being trapped for two days.
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