The process of drilling a passage using a rig at Nadukattupatti near Manapparai to reach and rescue two-year-old Sujith Wilson, who has been trapped in an abandoned borewell since October 25 evening, made slow progress on October 27 due to the rocky terrain.
Another high-powered rig has been moved to the site and is expected to be deployed late on October 27. Using this, officials expect to complete the drilling faster.
40 members of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) along with experts including geologists of Neyveli Lignite Corporation and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation had decided to drill a passage, adjacent to the one where Wilson has been stuck for over 48 hours, in an attempt to rescue him.
After the first drill rig brought from a private contractor in Ariyalur was not able to drill forcefully, another one — 100 feet in height — was requested from Larsen & Turbo and brought from Ramanathapuram. Till about 9 p.m. on October a hole had been drilled only for a depth of about 35 feet.
The pace of the efforts was slowed down due to rain for sometime in the evening. The abandoned borewell had to be covered with several layers of tarpaulin to protect it.
Even if it rains again, the drilling work will continue until Wilson is rescued, said Commissioner of Revenue Administration J. Radhakrishnan.
A Fire and Rescue team on the ground said that they had cordoned off the area, including the house of Wilson’s uncle.
Speaking to The Hindu, an official from the Fire Service said that the process would continue on till early morning on October 28.
Two members of the rescue team — Dileep Kumar and Ram Kumar — will enter the passage as soon as it has been drilled up to 100 feet and a horizontal tunnel drilled to the borewell in which Wilson is stuck.
Around 200 Fire and Rescue team members, 20 supervisors, a medical team from Manapparai Government Hospital along with two 108 ambulances, nurses and life supprt equipment are on standby on the ground.
Revenue Minister R. B. Udayakumar visited the spot to inspect the mission. An official release said that Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami was in touch with the officials on ground, enquiring about the progress of the mission.
Earlier in the day, Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said, “We have to ensure that the vibrations do not disturb or hurt the child and that is one of the reasons for the slow pace of the work.”
Using a thermal device, a team from Anna University in Chennai was able to detect the body temperature of Wilson at around 4 p.m. on October 26. “They concluded that he might be unconscious but there is no way to confirm it,” Dr. Vijayabaskar said.
On the criticism of the NDRF’s equipment, Dr. Vijayabaskar said that they had come prepared to reach the boy till the depth of 25 feet. However, by the time they had reached the spot, Wilson had slipped down to about 70 feet.
Ministers Vellamandi Natarajan and S. Valarmathi and Director General of Police, Fire and Rescue Service C. K. Gandhirajan were also supervising the efforts.