Rescuers find “biological traces” of Spanish child stuck in borehole

Authorities are still racing to find two-year-old Julen, who is stuck in a shaft more than 100 meters deep after falling in on Sunday during a family lunch

A truck with pipes that will be used to reach the well arrives in Totalán.
A truck with pipes that will be used to reach the well arrives in Totalán.PACO PUENTES / EL PAIS

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Rescue teams have found “biological traces” inside a 100-meter-deep borehole that a toddler is believed to have fallen into last Sunday in Totalán, in the southern Spanish province of Málaga.

“We now have scientific evidence that the minor is down there,” said María Gámez, the central government’s deputy delegate in Málaga.

Two-year-old Julen Roselló went missing during a family meal at a rural property in an area known as Dolmen del Cerro de la Corona, where a cousin of the child said she saw him suddenly disappear into the ground. The shaft that Julen fell into is only 25 to 30 centimeters in diameter and 100 meters deep, making the rescue operation very complicated.

Rescuers are boring two separate tunnels in a last-ditch attempt to find the child alive – one sideways into the mountain, and one running down parallel to the shaft. Miners from the northern region of Asturias on Tuesday traveled down to Málaga to join the effort. The child’s plight has drawn a team of around 100 rescuers to the area.

The shaft that Julen fell into was made by someone looking for underground water, and lacked the necessary licenses. The opening was covered with rocks, rather than sealed.

We now have scientific evidence that the minor is down there

María Gámez, government deputy delegate

Julen’s father, José, has asked for an end to rumors that the child might not be in the borehole at all. In statements to the regional daily Sur and to the state broadcaster TVE, he said that “I heard my son crying, and 30 seconds later I couldn’t hear him anymore.”

José says he also witnessed the accident himself. “Let nobody doubt it. I wish it were impossible for him to be inside the hole, like I’ve heard it being said. I wish it was me buried down there, and him up here with his mother,” he told Sur.

On Tuesday, rescuers found a small candy bag at a depth of around 78 meters using a robotic camera. The belief that Julen may still be alive is based on the fact that there appears to be an air pocket at the bottom of the borehole.

This is the second tragedy to hit the family. In the spring of 2017, their three-year-old son Oliver died of sudden cardiac arrest while they were walking along a beach.

English version by Susana Urra.

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