A Moroccan official announced on Friday that rescue teams had reached the "most critical stage" in digging to save the life of a young boy trapped at the bottom of a well.
In a statement made by Abdel-Hadi Al-Tamrani, head of the committee in charge of the operation to rescue the five-year-old Rayan, to the news website Channel One, said "more than 30 meters (98 feet) out of 32 meters are already dug."
Rayan has been stuck since Tuesday noon in the dry well, 32 meters deep, in the agricultural village of Igran in the northern Chefchaouen province, while rescue teams have continued efforts to extricate him for 72 hours.
"There is only a little left before starting to make the horizontal hole," said Al-Tamrani.
He went on to note that "this stage is the most complex in the drilling process, because there is a team that will descend to the bottom of the hole."
The official stressed that to avoid putting the team members' lives at risk, they had to fix the length of the hole as drilling machines moved to the top in order to bury all the soil that could collapse at any time.
According to the official, the drilling process occasionally had to stop to prevent the soil from collapsing due to the "fragile nature of the ground."
On Friday morning, the rescue committee made the announcement that Rayan was still alive, while drilling operations had to temporarily stop due to sliding rocks.
The rescue crews have been working day and night since Wednesday morning, digging a slope of 150 meters in length and 32 meters in depth in an effort to reach the child and get him out. This was after rescuers failed to land through the hole of the well due to its narrowness and the fear of further soil collapse.