After a nearly week-long massive round-the-clock operation, the six-year-old boy trapped in an abandoned borewell in his father's farm in nearby Sulikere village was confirmed dead today.
Authorities called off the operation involving about 500 persons, including teams from National Disaster Relief Force, Hutti gold mines from neighbouring Raichur district and fire brigade after an all party meeting here and visit to the site by soil, medical and forensic experts.
Speaking to reporters, District in charge Minister S R Patil said the death of Thimmanna Hatti had been confirmed by Belgaum Medical Research Institute and college Forensic laboratory chief. Bagalkot District Health Officer B D Kittura had said on Wednesday that considering the foul smell emanating from the borewell, the boy, who had fallen into it on Sunday, might not be alive. The all party meeting, also attended by the boy's family members, took note of the fact that the boy was dead and it was decided to stop the operation based on experts' advice, Patil said. He said the land, where the operation was on to dig a pit-cum-tunnel to gain access to the boy reportedly stuck at a depth of about 160 feet in the 300 feet borewell, would be levelled to make it cultivable.
A decision to close the borewell in which the boy is trapped would be taken after getting the opinion of Advocate General, after which only the family members can conduct Thimmanna's final rites.
Experts said continuing digging would pose a risk to the rescuers themselves, particularly if it were to rain, officials said. Teams from the NDRF, Hutti gold mines from neighbouring Raichur district and fire brigade were involved in the operation.
Deputy Commissioner PA Meghannavar told the meeting that the written appeal by members of the boy's family to stop rescue work, villagers' strong protest and expert opinion should be considered to take final decision.
Patil announced the decision of government to grant Rs five lakh compensation to the boy's family, besides his own personal contribution of Rs two lakh.
Caught in a tragic dilemma, the boy's father had pleaded in writing with authorities yesterday to stop the operation saying continuing it would only damage his land.