Saudi Arabia: Probe blames well owner for girl’s death
Six-year-old Lama al-Rouqi fell into the 100-meter-deep well in the Haql governorate
An investigation committee held a Saudi farm owner responsible for the death of a young girl who fell into an abandoned well in the Tabuk province in December, Makkah daily reported on Sunday.
Six-year-old Lama al-Rouqi fell into the 100-meter-deep well in the Haql governorate while playing with her sister during a family picnic. Her remains were retrieved from the well after a search operation that lasted for weeks.
The committee, comprising representatives of various government bodies, concluded that the owner had failed to comply with a previous order to close the well.
The man had obtained a license to dig a well in 2004 but was ordered to stop work after it became known that the plot belonged to the Ministry of Defense. The owner was made to sign an undertaking that he would fill the well to secure the place.
However, the committee discovered that the man had excavated the area again with the help of two others and removed the well’s casing so that he could use it for another well he had been drilling nearby.
After removing the casing, they did not fill the deep hole. Instead, they placed steel pipes on the well’s mouth and covered it with rocks. After several years and amid floods that hit the area, the rusted steel pipes gave way and the rocks got eroded, leaving the well mouth open.
Photographs taken during excavations carried out to retrieve the girl’s body confirmed the findings.
The committee reached its conclusions after several rounds of meetings.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on March 3, 2014.
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