19-Month-Old Girl Saved After Falling Into Deep Well for 18 Hours

Rescue crews pumped oxygen to the child inside the well while they dug an adjacent pit to reach her

A 19-month-old girl was successfully rescued 18 hours after falling into a well while playing Monday afternoon in Thailand's northern Tak province.

The girl's parents, who are Myanmar migrant workers, had placed her under a tree while they worked at a cassava farm, but later alerted authorities when they couldn't find her during their break, according to the BBC. They heard her cries coming from a nearby 15-meter-deep well, and it was later determined that she had fallen through a 30 cm gap at the top and had been stuck inside.

Rescue workers arrived on scene and called out to the girl. Hearing her faint cries in response, they got to work trying to determine the condition of the child and what needed to be done to complete the rescue, according to the Bangkok Post.

They lowered a camera into the hole to locate her and inserted a tube into the shaft to pump oxygen inside. In the meantime, crews dug a pit adjacent to the well in order to bring the child safely out. They dug a 10m deep pit with a mechanical digger, before switching over to using shovels and digging by hand in order to ensure the well wouldn't collapse, according to the BBC.

Following an overnight emergency operation, rescue workers and military carry a 1 year-old from a deep hole in the northern Thailand province of Tak, 420 kms. (260 miles) north of Bangkok, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. The toddler, who is from Myanmar, fell into the 15 meter deep hole used for groundwater pipes yesterday evening.
Chiravuth Rungjamratratsami/AP

"It seemed like an easy operation at first because it looked like loose dirt, but once we started digging we found rock, which made it difficult because excavators can't dig through it," said Sanya Phetset, Phop Phra district chief in the Tak province said, per the Independent.

The pit that she fell through was believed to have been intended to be an artesian well that had been recently dug and left open, Phetset also told Thairath TV, per the publication.

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Eventually crews were able to make it to her at around 8 a.m. local time, but had to extract her carefully as she had suffered an injury to her leg, per the BBC.

Fire & Rescue Thailand, a non-profit organization, posted an update on their Facebook, saying that the child was rescued at 10:40 a.m. on Tuesday and rushed to Phop Phra Hospital. Cheers from rescuers reportedly broke out as the girl was finally brought out of the shaft wrapped in a green medical jacket.

"We are so glad we could rescue her safely," rescue worker Chanachart Wancharernrung told reporters, per BBC. "We have been trying since yesterday afternoon. We worked without sleep. Everyone helped out."

Local police chief Ratsaran Ketsoising told AFP that the girl "has signs of fatigue but still has good vital signs."

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