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Rescuers race to save toddler trapped in 88-foot well since Friday

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Indian officials are racing against time to rescue a toddler who has been trapped in an 88-foot-deep well since Friday.

Sujith Wilson, who is believed to be between 2 and 3 years old, fell down the well around 5:45 p.m. Friday in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, district fire officer Puru Gandhi told CNN.

Gandhi said a small camera has been lowered into the well to monitor the condition of the boy, who is breathing.

Oxygen is being pumped into the pit and rescuers are working to drill a shaft parallel to the well.

The state’s Commissioner for Disaster Management and Mitigation, J. Radhakrishnan, told CNN that rescuers were able to dig down to 45 feet but then hit rocks.

“We are not able to predict the nature (of the ground); it is full of rock,” Radhakrishnan said.

“We have been giving him (the trapped boy) oxygen, but it is a difficult kind of situation. Hopefully, the operation will complete in eight-10 hours. Let us pray.”

The chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Edappadi K Palaniswami, tweeted that “heavy duty drilling machines and equipments have been deployed” and that “further assistance will be sought depending on the status of the rescue efforts.”

Around 550 people are involved in the rescue operation, Radhakrishnan said, including workers from fire services, national and state disaster management agencies and the police.

Technical experts from mining company NLC India, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and the National Technical Institute are also involved.

Indians have been glued to the rescue attempt, with the hashtags #prayforsurjeeth and #sujithwilson trending on Twitter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted support for the rescue operation, saying “every effort” was being made to save the boy.

“My prayers are with the young and brave Sujith Wilson. Spoke to CM @EPSTamilNadu regarding the rescue efforts underway to save Sujith. Every effort is being made to ensure that he is safe. @CMOTamilNadu,” Modi wrote Monday.

In January this year, an operation to rescue a toddler who fell down a well in Spain ended in tragedy when his body was recovered almost two weeks after he disappeared.

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