Rescue workers line up after the body of 5-year-old Rayan was placed in an ambulance after it was recovered from a well in which he was stuck for several days, in the village of Ighran in Morocco's Chefchaouen province Saturday. The body of the boy was pulled out by rescuers after a lengthy operation after he fell in the well on Feb. 1. Photo by Jalal Morchidi/EPA-EFE
Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A five-year-old Moroccan boy has died after spending four days trapped inside a well, the country's state-run media reported on Saturday. His body was recovered Saturday afternoon.
The boy, Rayan Oram, fell 104 feet down the well near his home in the north Moroccan village of Ighrane on Tuesday afternoon. For days, rescuers worked around the clock to rescue the child, first by digging within the well itself and later by using an excavator to carve out a trench nearby.
The Moroccan Royal Court said in a statement that King Mohammed VI called the boy's parents, Khaled Oram and Wassima Kharchich, after learning of Rayan's death.
"On this sad occasion, the King expressed his deepest condolences and sincerest sympathy to all members of the family of the deceased in this painful affliction," the Royal Court stated.
Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch offered condolences via Facebook.
"Different interests, locally and nationally, exceptional and powerful efforts have been made to save the child Ryan, may Allah have mercy on him, as the drilling operations continued for five days," Akhannouch wrote.
Rayan was trapped in a tight, cramped space at the bottom of the well that local authorities estimated was around 20 inches in diameter, according to The New York Times. Cameras lowered into the depths over the last four days offered glimmers of hope, as they showed Rayan bloody but apparently moving and alive.
As of Friday, rescuers had been tunneling in toward the side of the well but bad weather and hard rock had slowed the process. Abdelhadi Temrani, the head of the rescue team, told reporters Saturday morning he still had "great hope" that the boy was still alive -- it was difficult to tell from the camera footage at the time, which showed Rayan lying on his side.
"The diggers encountered a hard rock on their way, and were therefore very careful to avoid any landslides or cracks," Temrani told regional news station 2M.
"It took about five hours to get rid of the rock because the digging was slow and was done in a careful way to avoid creating cracks in the hole from below, which could threaten the life of the child as well as the rescue workers."
Rayan's rescue effort caught the attention of tens of thousands of people online, who posted encouragement for the boy and his attempted rescuers using the hashtag #SaveRayan.