January 16, 2019 / 8:26 PM / 6 months ago

Spanish emergency services working to rescue toddler trapped in well

A truck pours sand next to a digger next to the area where Julen, a Spanish two-year-old boy who fell into a 25-centimetre (9.8 inch) wide and around 100-metre (328 feet) deep well four days ago when the family was taking a stroll through a private estate, in Totalan, southern Spain, January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

TOTALAN, Spain (Reuters) - Spanish emergency services were working to rescue a toddler trapped in a well since Sunday.

The two-year-old boy was seen falling into the well as his family walked through a private estate in Totalan, Malaga, in southern Spain, his father Jose told Spanish media.

Among debris pulled out of the well, rescuers found hair, which DNA tests confirmed belonged to the child. No signs of life have been detected.

The town’s residents turned out on Wednesday for a vigil to support the family, many holding homemade placards reading “All of Spain is with you” and “We are sending you our strength”. One man held a sign simply reading “Julen,” the name of the toddler.

Emergency services are using cameras to try to locate the child but said access was difficult, with soil partially blocking the well, which is just 25 cm (10 inches) wide and 100 meters (328 feet) deep.

“We are not only giving voice for all the residents of Totalan but also for the rest of the country because we have all had Julen in our minds since last Sunday,” resident Patricia Calderon told reporters.

Spanish police said members of a Swedish firm which helped locate 33 Chilean miners rescued after 69 days underground more than seven years ago had arrived on Tuesday to help in the rescue operation.

Alternative routes were being studied and officials said they were working to dig a tunnel next to the well.

Reporting by Miguel Pereira; Writing by Sam Edwards; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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