Wednesday , May 22 2024

After 3 days, concrete pillar yet to be excavated to rescue 10-year-old boy inside


After failing to pull up the concrete pillar to save a 10-year-old boy stuck inside it 35 meters underground, rescuers are now adopting a different strategy.

Early on Tuesday they brought a steel pipe with a diameter of 1.5m to the site in the Mekong Delta’s Dong Thap Province to place around the concrete pillar the boy fell into Saturday noon.

Until Monday evening they had planned to save him by pulling up the pillar, which is closed at the bottom, by softening the ground around it by pumping water.

But it had to be done at a measured pace and with caution to prevent the pillar from breaking and endangering the boy’s life.

By Monday afternoon drilling had gone on for over 48 hours and rescuers said they had reached 30m below ground and hoped to pull up the pillar by Monday night.

An auger being used on the night of January 2 to drill into the ground and pull up a concrete pillar inside which a boy is stuck. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tai

An auger being used on the night of January 2 to drill into the ground and pull up a concrete pillar inside which a boy is stuck. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tai

But they gave up the plan, fearing the pillar might not survive the stress and break up.

Now they are sheathing it with the steel pipe and plan to pump water to remove the soil from around the pillar and reduce friction.

They will then use cranes and specialized equipment to pull up the concrete pillar.

A new plan for pulling up a concrete pillar where a boy has been trapped since Saturday noon in Dong Thap Province. Graphics by Khanh Hoang

A new plan for pulling up a concrete pillar where a boy has been trapped since Saturday noon in Dong Thap Province. Graphics by Khanh Hoang

The tragic accident happened when the boy, Thai Ly Hao Nam, and three of his neighbors went to a bridge construction site on Provincial Road 857 in Phu Loi Commune to gather pieces of iron.

Nam was walking when he fell into the hollow concrete pillar, which measures 25 centimeters across, and has been trapped.

A firefighter in HCMC, whose unit has rescued people from hundreds of meters below ground, said the case is “very complicated” since the boy is stuck in a pillar that is too narrow for rescuers to climb into.

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

A geological exploration camera that can go 500m underground was brought to the site on Monday afternoon. It can see in the darkness and rescuers hope to come with rescue measures based on its images.

But Doan Tan Buu, vice chairman of Dong Thap Province, said since rescuers could not install the camera and soften the ground at the same time, they plan to prioritize pulling the pillar up, locate Nam and cut the concrete to free him.

No one knows for sure where in the pillar the boy is. Witnesses said he screamed for help for 10 minutes after falling in, but rescuers have not heard from him.

Buu said the boy is likely to have multiple injuries, and the rescue team is standing by with emergency aid both for him and his family members.

Le Hoang Bao, director of the Dong Thap Department of Transport, said the construction site is fenced and there are warning signs, but officials would check for possible safety violations.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has ordered the National Committee for Natural Disaster Response, Search and Rescue and the defense, public security, transport, and construction ministries to provide personnel and equipment and enlist the assistance of experts experienced in such rescue efforts.

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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