Tuesday , February 7 2023

35-meter-deep pillar where boy is trapped yet to be pulled up after three days


Failing to pull up a concrete pillar before Tuesday morning by drilling, rescuers have now switched to another solution to save a 10-year-old boy stuck 35 meters underground.

A steel pillar with a diameter of 1.5m was brought to the site in Mekong Delta’s Dong Thap Province early on Tuesday to place around the concrete pillar that the boy fell into around noon last Saturday.

The concrete pillar is 25 centimeter in diameter and goes 35m deep into the ground.

The tragic accident happened when the boy, Thai Ly Hao Nam, and three other kids who are his neighbors went to a bridge construction site on Provincial Road 857 in Phu Loi Commune to get some pieces of iron. Nam was walking when he fell into the hollow concrete pillar and was trapped.

Until Monday evening, the solution determined by the rescue team was to save the boy by pulling up the pillar, which has a close end at the bottom, by first softening the ground around it with drilling and pumping water.

The auger that is used to drill into the ground in an attempt to pull up a concrete pillar that a boy was stuck inside on the night of January 2, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tai

The auger that is used to drill into the ground in an attempt to soften the ground surrounding a pillar that a boy was stuck inside on the night of January 2, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tai

The process, however, could not take place fast as it had to be done with caution to prevent the pillar from leaning or breaking and endangering the boy. At some point, rescuers had to stop halfway to check the soil and rocks.

By Monday afternoon, drilling had been conducted for over 48 hours and rescuers said they had reached 30m underground and that they hoped they could pull up the pillar within Monday night to get Nam out.

However, that solution did not work.

Now they will place the steel pillar around the concrete pillar, pump water into the steel pillar to remove the soil around the concrete pillar and at the same time, reduce the friction.

After that, they will use cranes and specialized equipment to pull up the concrete piles.

A steel pillar is placed into the ground to surround the concrete pillar early January 3, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Nam

A steel pillar is placed into the ground to surround the concrete pillar early January 3, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Nam

A firefighting officer in HCMC, whose unit used to rescue people from hundreds of meters underground, said the boy’s case is “very complicated” as he’s stuck in a pillar that is too narrow for any rescuer to climb into.

“The only solution is to pull the pillar up.”

A geological exploration camera that can go 500m underground was sent to the site to locate the boy on Monday afternoon. The camera can see in darkness and its images can suggest suitable rescue measures. However, it won’t be able to tell if the boy is alive.

However, Doan Tan Buu, vice chairman of Dong Thap Province, said the rescue team cannot install the camera and soften the ground at the same time and that they will prioritize pulling the pillar up, before trying to locate the boy and cutting the pillar apart to free him.

He said the boy is likely to suffer from multiple injuries, and the rescue team has prepared to provide emergency aid to him and his family members who could be shocked at seeing him.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has ordered the National Committee for Natural Disaster Response, Search and Rescue, and ministers of national defense, public security, transport, and construction to provide necessary forces and connect with experts experienced in the matter to help with the rescue.

Khoảnh khắc bé trai lọt xuống trụ bêtông

The moment the boy falls into the pillar as captured by a security camera.

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