Tunnel being dug to reach Akshata who is stuck at a depth of 28 ft

The operation to rescue four-year-old Akshata Malipatil, who fell into an open borewell here on Tuesday evening, continued on Wednesday.

Experts of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from Pune and Sangli, Maharashtra, along with those of Hutti Gold Mines in Raichur district began the operation at 11 p.m. on Tuesday. Fire and Emergency Services personnel said the girl was possibly stuck at a depth of around 28 ft in the borewell that is believed to be around 300-ft deep. The borewell, dug in the farm of Ramchandra Halli, was left open as it did not yield any water.

Four earthmovers were being used to dig a tunnel to reach the girl. Doctors at the spot are supplying oxygen to the girl through the pipe.

According to G. Tyagarajan, manager of Hutti Gold Mines who is heading the team that is digging the tunnel, said rocky surface was creating problems and was delaying the job.

District Surgeon R.M. Sajjan, who was at the spot, told The Hindu that the possibility of Akshata surviving was high if her trachea was clear and her chest was free from any pressure. Also, it should be ensured that she gets 90 per cent oxygen.

“We are hoping for the best,” he said.

Superintendent of Police Ramnivas Sepat, Additional Deputy Commissioner Kavita Mannikeri were monitoring the rescue operations.

Later in the day, district in-charge Minister M.B. Patil came to the spot along with Manikanthan of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, who had brought specially designed equipment for rescuing children from a depth in borewells.

Mr. Manikanthan and the expert team were working simultaneously in their effort to rescue the girl.

Bijapur Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer K.B. Shivakumar said that after consultations, NDRF experts had resolved to continue digging till the point where Akshata was struck and provide padding to prevent her from falling further deep.

Family can do nothing but wait

It has been a nightmare for Akshata’s parents, Savitri and Hanumath Maipatil.

All they can do is watch the rescue operation helplessly and pray for their daughter.

The family, who had come to Nagathan for a better livelihood, had no idea that the visit would end in such a horrific way.

The couple, agricultural labours of Vastari village of Jewargi taluk in Gulbarga district, had come here with their two daughters to work in the farm of Mohan Dage.

Recalling the horror, Mr. Maipatil said they were at home when their niece came running to inform them that Akshata had fallen into a borewell. Both the girls were playing in the field. But when a stray dog began barking at them, the girls took flight and Akshata fell into the borewell, he said. “We couldn’t do anything when we reached the spot, so we started shouting for help,” said Mr. Maipatil with a chocked voice. They were promised Rs. 60,000 a year to work in the fields.

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