A five-year-old Moroccan boy who was trapped at the bottom of a well for four days has died, despite monumental efforts that gripped the world front and centre to rescue him.
The rescue had been hampered by fears of a landslide. Rescuers finally brought the boy out of the well on Saturday evening. Reports said he was brought out on a stretcher and put into a waiting ambulance, before being moved to a helicopter to take him to a hospital in a larger city.
An initial update about his condition was not immediately given as word spread that he had been recovered, and the apparent rescue was initially met with cheers from the crowds.
The bid to free the boy, named as Rayan, had gripped Morocco, with hundreds of people gathered at the well and thousands more following online around the world.
The boy, Rayan, has been trapped in a well near his home in Ighrane, a small village about 60 miles from the blue-walled city of Chefchaouen, since Tuesday afternoon. On social media, people using the hashtag #SaveRayan, which had been trending across the country and beyond, expressed their jubilation.
But this turned to heartbreak minutes later when the statement came announcing that Rayan had died.
Twitter users then began paying tribute and expressing sadness using the same hashtag.
The King of Morocco confirmed that he was closely following the developments of this tragic incident, as he issued his instructions to all concerned authorities, in order to take the necessary measures and make maximum efforts to save the life of the deceased, but the will of God Almighty wanted him to fulfill the call of his Lord satisfied and satisfactorily.
"Following the tragic accident which cost the life of the child Rayan Oram, His Majesty King Mohammed VI called the parents of the boy who died after falling down the well," the statement from the royal palace said.