A two-year-old boy who fell down a 360ft borehole nearly two weeks ago has been found dead.
Julen Rosello fell into the narrow 10-inch hole in Spain in a freak accident while his family were preparing a countryside lunch with friends.
According to Spanish media, his heartbroken parents were already grieving the death of another young son who had died of a heart attack in 2017.
Julen’s remains were found in the early hours of Saturday by rescuers digging a tunnel to reach him, said a spokeswoman with the Spanish government’s office in the southern province of Malaga.
His heartbroken parents Jose Rosello and Victoria Garcia were told the devastating news in the early hours of this morning.
In one of the few media interviews the child’s parents gave before the body was found, father Jose said the family was ‘heartbroken’ by the long wait but hoping for ‘a miracle’.
El Pais reported that the couple had lost Julen’s older brother, Oliver, when the three-year-old suffered a heart attack during a walk on the beach two years ago.
Julen was thought to be trapped in or just beneath a blockage of sand, earth and rocks around 250ft down the hole, which a prospector made to search for water.
Pictures taken last week showed half a dozen mechanical diggers scooping up earth on the barren hillside above the tiny hole the youngster fell down as dumper trucks waited close by.
The tragedy had gripped Spaniards from day one and the country had followed closely every turn of an extremely complex operation, frequently hampered by layers of hard rock.
The dry waterhole was too narrow for an adult to get into and hardened soil and rock blocked equipment from progressing to the place two-thirds of the way down where the toddler was trapped.
During the nearly two weeks of the ordeal, officials came up with several alternative routes to the toddler.
A series of small explosions set off since Thursday afternoon, including a fourth one late on Friday, helped the crews make their way through a horizontal tunnel to the cavity.
Before that tunnel could be dug some 230 feet underground, a vertical shaft was drilled during days of painstaking engineering to bring miners and rescue experts up and down.
The difficulty of the operation had prompted Jorge Martin, a spokesman with the Malaga province Civil Guard, to say: ‘We have to be very careful, here the mountain is in control.’
Only hair that matched Julen’s DNA was found in the borehole and no other verbal or visual contact had been established with him.
Despite that, officials had refused to speculate over whether the boy could have survived so long.
A judicial commission will now follow up with the accident’s investigation.