Julen Found Dead

Saturday, January 26, 2019
By Martin Myall

AXA Rescue AttemptsTwelve days after the child fell down the narrow bore hole, his lifeless body has been retrieved, extinguishing the last strands of hope.

Spanish TV Channel, Telecinco, put on rolling coverage as the rescue miners from Asturias literally inched their way through quartz rock to connect the rescue bore to the one where the child lay. They finally broke through at 01.25h this morning, letting the Guardia Civil rescue team get past to reach the child.

The chances of finding him alive after twelve days were slight, if not minimal, but that didn’t stop over 300 people working together, flat out, to rescue little Julen alive.

After set backs drilling the vertical shaft and lining it, work had begun with a 2-man team using jackhammers to cut through the hardest kind of rock on earth, resorting to micro-explosives to crack it just enough to work the tool head into cracks.

Each time that these explosive were called in – a total of four times – it took 90 minutes to put them in place and another 30 minutes to clear the air. All this dragged out the horizontal-tunnel work  – around four metres – for  80-odd hours, with the 2-man teams working in 40-minute shifts.

At 04.20h an ambulance was given permission to take Julen’s body to Málaga to the Anatómico Forense for an autopsy to determine the cause and time of death.

Back on the site work has begun on filling in both the rescue bore and the original one. The parents, with the support of psychologists, began the first day of the rest of their lives having lost their second but only child after their first one died two years ago.

So many people were involved: from the Guardia Civil rescue team to the only mine-rescue team left in Spain; from psychologists to engineers; from bomb disposal experts to crane operators and from solderers to the women in the village of Totalán who prepared food, dedicating their time and donated food, for rescue workers every day. Private companies came forward to offer their help, free of charge, as well.

Everybody pulled together.

Now, what remains, is the investigation into how the bore hole had been left open, converting it into a doorway to hell for a toddler who was too young to know what was happening to him and too far away to know that hundreds of people were working to get him back alive.

Update: the autopsy has revealed that the toddler suffered head injuries consistent with a fall and had died probably in the act or moments afterwards.

(News: Totalan, Axarquia, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia)

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