The rescue mission to save a 2-year-old boy trapped in a well in Spain for 13 days has come to a tragic end as emergency personnel recovered his body from the 360-foot-deep hole.
Rescue workers were finally able to reach Julen Rosello on Jan. 26, 13 days after he plummeted at least 30 stories down a borehole during a picnic with his parents on Sunday in Totalan, off of Spain’s southern coast.
After days of effort that saw help come in from around the world, the little boy was found dead.
“Unfortunately at 1:25 a.m. the rescue team reached the spot where they were looking for Julen and found the lifeless body of the little one,” central government’s representative in the southwestern region of Andalusia, Alfonso Rodriguez Gomez de Celis, wrote on Twitter.
“My condolences to the family,” he added.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also spoke out on the news.
“All of Spain feels the infinite sadness of Julen’s family. We have followed closely every step to reach him. We will always appreciate the tireless effort of those who searched for him during all these days,” Sanchez expressed on Twitter.
The devastating discovery comes after 100 firefighters and emergency workers worked around the clock using a robotic camera and other equipment to get to Julen in the hole. The well was too narrow for any adult to enter, according to the AP.
Authorities expected to find Julen safe within days of the incident. However, the area’s complicated terrain slowed attempts to find the boy, Reuters reported.
Julen is believed to have wandered away from his parents that afternoon and slipped into the hole, according to the AP. He cried as he fell more than two dozen feet but was not heard from again, according to the Washington Post. The incident garnered global attention, with dozens of people gathering in the area to support Julen’s family.
Rescue teams sent a robotic camera down the well, but even it was too big for the hole, only making it 229 feet below the surface before being unable to go any further, according to NBC News. And an attempt to widen it failed after crews hit hard rock.
However, the device did spot candy the little boy had been carrying, NBC reported. And hairs found in soil extracted from the well matched the boy’s DNA, government official Maria Galvez told reporters on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the boy’s father, Jose, told reporters that he and his wife are devastated.
“My wife is broken,” Jose told reporters, according to NBC. “We are dead inside. But we hope we have an angel to get my son out of there.”
In May 2017, the couple also suffered the loss of their older son, Oliver, who reportedly died of a congenital heart defect.
The parents spoke out this week, expressing their hope that Oliver is now watching over his little brother from heaven.
“Oliver, don’t forget your brother, Julen,” his mother wrote on social media, according to the Express. “You know we’ve been waiting for him for many hours. I know you protect him a lot, my little King.”