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8 Days Later, Rescuers Still Drilling Toward Toddler in Well

Hard granite has slowed their progress
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2019 3:00 PM CST
In this photo taken on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, drill and excavating machinery work on top of the mountain next to a deep borehole to reach a 2-year-old boy trapped there for six days near the town of Totalan...   (Alex Zea/Europa Press via AP)
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(Newser) – The on-site rescue team initially said they hoped to reach a 2-year-old trapped in a Spanish well on Friday. As of Monday morning, eight days after Julen Rosello fell into the narrow borehole while with his family in Totalan, the lead engineer explained why progress has been slow. The AP reports Angel Garcia Vidal said the drill has been moving through extremely hard granite and that the work had to cease briefly early Monday for maintenance work on the drill. The drill is creating a shaft parallel to the borehole that needs to get to a depth of about 200 feet, where they believe the child is.

Miners will descend into the new shaft and then dig a horizontal tunnel by hand to Julen's assumed location, a process that should take roughly 20 hours. The drill was as of earlier Monday at about 175 feet. The Guardian reports no signs of life have been detected, but there's a remote possibility Julen could be alive thanks to the cold weather, which could slow the toddler's metabolism and allow him to survive with much lower breathing and blood flow than normal. (The family reportedly lost another child in 2017.)

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