JULEN: Rescue mission slowed once again after ‘technical problems’ in tunnel

JULEN: According to media reports, experts now believe the 60-metre hole drilled to reach the boy is too narrow. Photo: @TimLangeveld3 and @evnsocial

RESCUE workers digging a tunnel to reach Julen, the 2-year-old who fell down a well in Totalan, have been forced to down tools following a technical problem.

According to media reports, experts now believe the 60-metre hole drilled to reach the boy veers off at the bottom 20 metres.

They say they plan to fill the orifice with ‘fine soil’ before re-drilling, a move which is expected to delay the operation.

Before this latest development, Angel Garcia Vidal, the operation’s coordinator, said it could take specialists around 24 hours to hand dig a 4-metre long tunnel between their hole and the one Julen fell down on Sunday January 13.

Media reports claim complications over a lack of air in the hole dug to reach the boy had already slowed the rescue effort. Before being forced to postpone their efforts, experts had been working in one-hour shifts 60-metres below the hill’s surface, digging out soil and rocks on their knees using only pickaxes and some pneumatic tools.

Meanwhile, a court in Malaga has opened an investigation into exactly how Julen came to fall into the hole. According to Spanish media, the inquiry began after the Guardia Civil took statements from Julen’s parents, Vicky Garcia and Jose Rosello, as well as the man thought to be responsible for drilling the hole, Antonio Sanchez.

Vicky allegedly told police she was one her phone and Jose was looking for kindling to start a fire to make paella as Julen played just metres away with his small cousin before falling down the 110-metre hole.

The incident occurred in the Sierra de Totalan while Julen was on a trip with his family. The width of the hole, which measures 25 centimetres in diameter, has made rescue attempts lengthy and complicated.

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