(MENAFN - Arab News) The Civil Defense has not succeeded to retrieve the body of six-year-old Lama Al-Rouqi who died after falling into an abandoned well in Tabuk two weeks ago.
Lama was out picnicking with her family when she fell into the well in Al-Asmar valley in Haql Governorate on Dec. 20. She fell more than 30 meters into the 100-meter-deep and half-a-meter-wide well.
Maj. Gen. Mastour Al-Harithy, director of Tabuk's Civil Defense, said at a press conference here on Thursday that the team was still trying to retrieve her body. They came close to the body on Wednesday, but it slid 11 meters further into the well because of loose soil in the hole.
Al-Harithy also outlined the events that took place since the Tabuk Civil Defense arrived at the scene after receiving a call for help at 3:54 p.m. on Dec. 20.
Lama's father told them that she fell into the well while playing with her sister, said Al-Harithy. He said the rescuers first made sure the girl was not anywhere else in the valley.
"On examining the well, Civil Defense experts assumed that the girl had fallen into the well through a hole on the side because it was covered at the top," said the official.
As a preliminary step, they pumped oxygen into the well and sent down a camera at the end of a cable. "The camera collided with some rock and mud at a depth of 30 meters and there was no sign of the body," he said.
The Civil Defense dug a hole parallel to the well to reach the level where the girl was trapped. It was three meters away from the well.
The rescuers sought the help of teams from Madinah, Qassim, Riyadh and the Taif Civil Defense directorates, including experts from Saudi Aramco and the Saudi Geological Survey, Al-Harithy said. Three academics from Tabuk University were present to provide advice on such rescues.
Experts from an Italian company and Saudi Binladin were also consulted on Saturday. However, they could not help because they did not have equipment to deal with such a situation.
A company was contracted to provide support for the wall of the well while digging took place.
The teams started taking special care to ensure the safety of the diggers when they reached a depth of 27 meters on Tuesday evening. However, they then hit hard rock at 30 meters.
About 72 hours after they started digging the parallel well, the Civil Defense rescuers managed to open a small hole of 30 cm in diameter and gain access to the well. At that spot, the teams could smell the decaying body of the girl.
They also came across a doll, which relatives said belonged to the child. Unfortunately, the body fell 11 meters further because of loose soil.