A 10-year-old deaf and mute boy has been stuck down an 80ft well in India for four days as emergency workers desperately race to rescue him.
Rahul Sahu fell down the waterhole on Friday while playing in the backyard of his house in the central state of Chhattisgarh.
Earth movers and cranes are helping dig a tunnel next to the well, which is only a couple of feet wide.
Army soldiers and members of India’s disaster response agency are also lending their assistance in the rescue mission.
But bad weather and venomous snakes and scorpions unearthed by the dig have hampered rescue efforts, local officials said.
Sahu was ‘responding well’ to rescuers and a camera is monitoring his condition and movements, Janjgir district police chief Vijay Agrawal told AFP by phone from the scene.
‘Since the boy cannot speak or listen, we have a bigger challenge,’ he added.
An oxygen pipe is feeding Sahu fresh air, but a government spokesman said the tunnelling effort had been slowed down by hard stone underneath the ground.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said he was hopeful Sahu would be brought up from the well alive and tweeted that the boy had eaten a banana sent down to him by rescuers.
Uncovered wells are a common feature of Indian farming villages but are frequently implicated in fatal accidents involving young children.