Rescue workers are racing against the clock to save a 2-year-old boy who plummeted at least 30 stories down a well in Spain five days ago.
Earlier this week, authorities expected to reach Julen Rosello in the deep borehole in Totalan by Friday. However, the area’s complicated terrain has slowed rescue efforts, now authorities say the operation could take a few more days, reports Reuters.
“The priority now is the works on the vertical tunnel,” a spokeswoman for Malaga’s regional government said. Rescue workers plan to dig an intersecting tunnel to reach Julen.
Julen fell down the well on Sunday while out for a picnic with his family in the town, off of Spain’s southern coast, according to the Associated Press. Julen likely wandered away from his parents that afternoon and slipped into the hole.
He cried as he fell more than two dozen stories and has not been heard from since, according to the Washington Post. The incident has garnered global attention, with dozens of people gathering in the area to support Julen’s family and hope for his safe rescue.
“The terrain’s geology is complicated, and that’s slowing down the works,” Angel Garcia, leader of the search-and-rescue operation, said on Friday, according to the AP.
Despite the ordeal stretching nearly a week, officials said they are hopeful that the toddler is alive.
“We are not going to stop even for a minute until he is rescued from there,” María Gámez, a government official in Malaga, said, according to Spain’s El Pais.
“No one on the team doubts that we will find him and we hope and trust he will be alive.”
More than 100 firefighters and emergency workers have been looking for the boy since Sunday. But the hole is too narrow for any adult to enter, according to the AP.
Rescue teams sent a robotic camera down the well on Monday, but even it was too big for the hole, only making it 229 feet below the surface before being unable to go any further, according to NBC News. And an attempt to widen it failed earlier this week after crews hit hard rock.
The family’s neighbor, Patricia Calderon, described the situation as “living a nightmare,” NBC reported. And, on Wednesday, the boy’s father, Jose, told reporters that he and his wife are devastated.
“My wife is broken,” Jose told reporters on Wednesday, according to NBC. “We are dead inside. But we hope we have an angel to get my son out of there.”