Three-year-old Madhumitha came close to being rescued within hours of her falling into the abandoned borewell, thanks to the robotic arms deployed by a team of experts from the TVS Community College in Madurai.
The robotic arms, whose reach was monitored on a television screen installed nearby, at one stage reached the child and caught her. But the joy of seeing the child taken out of the narrow borewell was short-lived as she slipped after being lifted to a height of seven feet.
The team of M. Manikandan and M. Thirunavukkrasu from the college in Madurai was, however, not able to use the robotic arms immediately, owning to official apathy.
Arriving at the spot around 1.30 a.m. — the child fell into the well in the village near here around 8 a.m. — the two-member team was not initially allowed to join the rescue operations. The officials kept the two aside till 4 p.m. until the soil cutter they were using could not make much headway. In the meantime, the Madurai team established its credentials by operating the robotic arm by using a coconut and boulder. It was only after much persuasion that the two persons from the college were permitted to deploy the camera-fitted robotic arms to pull out the child. The television screen showed the movement of the arms. But the operations could not be continued beyond 7.15 p.m. when the hook in one of the robotic arms got detached.