Girl's body remains in artesian well in Saudi Arabia

Jan. 7, 2014 at 3:24 PM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Saudi emergency workers have been unable to recover the body of a 6-year-old girl who fell into an artesian well during a family picnic, officials said.

Infrared cameras located the body of Lama Ayidh al-Rouqi about 100 feet down, the Saudi Gazette reported Tuesday. The well is 300 feet deep and about 20 inches in diameter.

The girl's family says she must have a proper burial. A religious scholar issued a fatwa that said the well could be considered her grave once efforts to recover the body have failed, but her relatives disagree.

"The well cannot be a grave for the dead girl because it is located in a valley in a government land, which is subjected to rains and floods that may exhume the body with time," her uncle, Khaled Rashid al-Rouqi, told the newspaper al-Hayat.

The uncle said the family was picnicking near the well when the ground caved in. He said Saudi-Aramco plans to build a facility there, another reason for recovering the body.

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