A Moroccan boy trapped in a well for five days has died, the royal palace said in a statement carried by state media on Sunday.
Rescue workers earlier had extracted five-year-old Rayan after a medical team had been examining him inside the well after rescue teams reached his location. He reportedly died before rescue teams reached him, Reuters reported, citing two government officials.
Moroccan media reported that the regional hospital in Tetouan has been prepped for the transfer. An ambulance and a helicopter were on standby at the scene.
A large crowd gathered at the scene watching as officials held back the praying mass.
Rescue teams managed to complete the extraction without triggering a landslide, which was feared by experts considering the depth and precarious placement of the trapped boy.
Boy fell down 32-meter well
The boy had fallen down a narrow 32 meter well in his village near Bab Berred, in the northern tourist province of Chefchaouen, on Tuesday evening, according to local media reports.
The well descends from its 45 centimeters (18 inches) diameter at the top, which means the rescuers cannot go down themselves to retrieve the child. To combat this, rescue teams started digging alongside the drop, followed by a horizontal push into the cavity where Rayan lay.
However, the delicate operation was constantly delayed by rocks and imperiled by the threat of landslides. The rescuers have been placing concrete and steel pipes into the horizontal tunnel as they dig to allow them to pull Rayan to safety.
PVC tubes were installed to protect against landslides.
The hilly region around Chefchaouen is bitterly cold in winter. Reports say that food has been lowered to Rayan, but it was not clear whether he has eaten any. He was also supplied with water and oxygen using a tube.
The incident has sparked a global call to #SaveRayan going viral across the region, with pictures that showed Rayan huddled at the bottom of the disused well.
A helicopter was standing by to ferry Rayan to hospital as soon as he is freed on Saturday.