5-Year-Old Rayam Awram Dies Trapped in Moroccan Well Despite 4 Days of Tireless Rescue Efforts to Save Him

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The village of Ighran in Northern Morocco held a public funeral Monday for 5-year-old Rayan Awram after he spent four days trapped at the bottom of a well as countless unsuccessful rescue efforts were launch to save him. “Rayan is the son of us all,” a mourning villager said at his funeral, according to Al Jazeera

Hundreds climbed a hilly, unpaved road to the cemetery in order to observe the Muslim burial rituals, and those who were unable to crowd into the cemetery and prayer site instead offered condolences in front of Rayan’s family home, the outlet reported.

Rayan’s father, Khaled Awram, said he had been repairing the 105-feet deep well Tuesday night when his son fell in. 

“Ryan was next to me,” Awram said, according to NBC News. “At one point he fell. I didn’t realize it.”

Relatives said they heard him crying and saying, “lift me up,” Reuters reported. 

Dozens of rescue workers, armed with oxygen, water, bulldozers, drills and even helicopters flooded to the village of about 500 people in a desperate attempt to rescue the boy, with even the country’s King Mohammed VI ordering officials to “use all means necessary to dig the boy out of the well and return him alive to his parents,” according to the Washington Post

Rayan’s plight eventually went viral, with the hashtag #SaveRayam in Arabic trending in North Africa. More than 100,000 people worldwide tuned into a livestream of the rescue efforts, according to The New York Times.

Rayan was ultimately pronounced dead Saturday before rescuers were able to recover his body. 

King Mohammed VI, Pope Francis, French President Emmanuel Macron and Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum were among those who sent their condolences to his family, Al Jazeera reported.