Rescuers ‘close’ to body of Saudi girl trapped in deep well for 12 days
Lama al-Rouqi was announced dead a week after she fell into the 100-meter well
Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense said on Wednesday that rescuers are close to recovering the body of a six-year-old girl who fell into a well on Dec. 20 near the north western city of Tabuk.
The girl, Lama al-Rouqi, was announced dead a week after she fell into the 100-meter (328-feet) well while on a family picnic. Rescue efforts faced tough weather conditions and loose soil, Saudi local media reported.
The incident sparked a debate on Twitter on whether the Civil Defense is equipped and trained for such accidents and how abandoned wells should be checked and covered for people’s safety, according to the Saudi Gazette.
One man tweeted saying a similar incident happened a few years back and the Civil Defense was only able to find the victim’s body after 12 days.
Other people tweeted prayers and words of support for Lama’s family. According to reports, the victim fell into the 100-meter deserted well while playing with her younger sister when the family went for a picnic.
Civil Defense spokesman Colonel Ali al-Qahtani blamed the delay of rescue efforts on the geography of the area and the small diameter of the well, which is about 50 centimeters (1.6 feet).
“There are obstacles facing the civil defense, such as the nature of the earth, wind and soil quality and depth of the well,” he told Al Arabiya Net.
“We have the required capabilities, but the quality of the soil does not help. We know her place but the well’s diameter is very small and it is difficult to use methods of primitive nature because the soil is easy to collapse,” he added.
Lama fell 30 meters down the well. People reportedly heard her crying and screaming for help but then the cries stopped, the Saudi Gazette reported.
Her father Ayed al-Rouqi said the valley where he had the picnic did not seem to have any wells and Lama was playing with her younger sister when she disappeared.
The father contacted the Civil Defense immediately and the search started. The well was drilled by a farmer looking for a water source many years ago but it has since been neglected.
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