Crews in the process of trying to rescue 2-year-old Julen Rosello, who fell into a narrow tunnel in Totalan, Spain, nine days ago, have hit yet another devastating setback.
El Pais reports that as miners prepared to lower themselves into a newly-created vertical tunnel that runs parallel to the narrow 350-feet borehole that the 2-year-old fell into, they discovered the vertical tunnel’s casing was not wide enough. Experts who drilled the 229-feet vertical tunnel will now have to widen it. It’s unclear how long the task will take.
“There were technical problems involved in putting tubes in the shaft beyond a depth of 131,” a Malaga government spokesman said.
Specialized miners who had been preparing to embark down the tunnel in hopes of pulling the boy out will now have to wait until the widening is complete. Once they reach the bottom of the tunnel, the miners plan to dig around 13-feet through sand, stones, and dirt, in an attempt to reach the parallel tunnel and pull Julen to safety.
So far, there has still be no contact with the boy.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Julen fell into the deep borehole while out on a picnic with his family on January 13. Crews have been working non-stop to reach the toddler, but obstacles have prevented a successful rescue so far.
Officials said last week they thought they would reach Julen by Friday, but the area’s rough terrain has made the task difficult, slowing down rescue efforts to the point where it could additional days.
“The terrain’s geology is complicated, and that’s slowing down the works,” lead engineer of the search-and-rescue operation, Angel Garcia said.
The toddler’s parents reportedly told authorities they had “no doubts” that their son fell in the well. DNA hair samples showed “scientific evidence that the minor is there,” according to Malaga province government representative, Maria Gamez.
“It feels like we have been waiting for months,” Julen’s father, Jose Rosello, said on Wednesday. “We are not going to give up … We have the hope that an angel is going to show up for my son to come out alive.”
Washington Post reports that Julen’s parents heard him crying as he fell down the hole, until his voice became distant, and eventually silent. Rescuers sent a small robot into the hole, which retrieved a bag of candy and a cup that Julen had in his hands when he fell, as well as some of the boy’s hair.
Authorities said there is a chance the toddler is still alive if enough oxygen is available.
Julen’s parents lost a child in 2017 when another son, 3 at the time, died due to complications with a congenital heart defect.
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Julen Rosello/Handout]