Family of Saudi girl trapped in well insists on extrication of her body

Lama fell into the 100-meter deep artesian well while picnicking with her family in Haql governorate

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The family of 6-year old Saudi girl, Lama Ayidh al-Rouqi, who fell to her death in an artesian well, more than two weeks ago, insisted that her body be pulled out so that she would get a proper burial. Efforts of the Civil Defense to extricate the body have so far been unsuccessful.

Lama fell into the 100-meter deep artesian well while picnicking with her family in Haql governorate. Infrared cameras detected the body lodged about 30 feet deep in the half a meter diameter well.

"The well cannot be a grave for the dead girl because it is located in a valley in a government land, which is subjected to rains and floods that may exhume the body with time," her uncle told al-Hayat newspaper on Monday.

Khaled Rashid Al-Rouqi was commenting on a fatwa issued by one of the religious scholars that the well can be considered a grave for the dead girl after all efforts to pull out her body have failed. He said the girl fell in the well when a landslide covering a radius of 11 meters occurred near the location of the well.

The uncle said the area near the well is being prepared for the construction of a facility for the Saudi-Aramco company. "The sands are being removed and the area near the well is being leveled for construction of the facility," he said.

The uncle appealed to everyone to respect the feelings of the family at this particular juncture and not to circulate incorrect stories or pictures about the dead girl. "Instead of doing this, people should support the family in its predicament," he said.

Interpreting a dream from one of the viewers, Sheikh Mohammed al-Shinqiti, an Islamic scholar, said on a television program that the girl was in one of the farms replete with date palms to the east of the well.

The uncle ridiculed this interpretation and said there were no farms or date palms near the well in al-Asmar valley, which is in a desert area.

Meanwhile, the directorate general of water in Tabuk has started covering all open wells in the region and posting warning signs around them.

According to informed sources, the directorate has closed down about 18 artesian wells in the region that were left uncovered.

It asked citizens and expatriates to inform them about any uncovered well that may threaten people's lives, and said owners of unattended wells would be punished according to the law.

(This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Jan. 7, 2013.)