Hundreds of people gathered at the well and many more followed online rescue efforts to rescue five-year-old Rayan Oram.
Rescue efforts to rescue a five-year-old Moroccan boy who fell into a dry pit Tuesday enchanted the world as people followed the arduous five-day operation to reach him.
Cheers over the news that Rayan Oram was finally released on Saturday night soon gave way to grief when she death has been confirmed by local authorities around 22:00 local time (21:00 GMT).
On Twitter, where the hashtag #SaveRayan and its Arabic translation were popular throughout the Arab world, users left messages of sympathy for the boy’s family, as well as praise for the rescuers.
Just a few minutes ago, the world was overwhelmed with joy and now tremendous sadness. Heart broken. I’m so sorry, Rayan. May Allah give you the highest rank in Jannat ul Firdaus and give your parents sabr. Ameen. #SaveRayan pic.twitter.com/V1X39xwnyS
– Miraal 🌙💫✨ (a kaalakawwa234) 5 February 2022
The boy’s mother told Al Jazeera at the scene of the tragedy she had prayed her son would be saved. Mohamed Saeid, Ryan’s cousin, said he had no words to describe the feeling of loss. Atiqua Awram, an aunt, said “my heart aches for him”.
Imad Fahmy, a Red Crescent volunteer, managed to communicate with the child, who responded. “I waited a few minutes and saw that he started using the oxygen,” he said.
Rescue workers were able to feed Rayan and provide him with oxygen through an opening in the well and a camera to monitor his progress.
Attempts to expand the well to reach the boy, however, were fruitless and rescuers preferred to use shovels to strip the earth aside.
– Khaled New York (@KhaledEibid) 4 February 2022
King Mohammed VI of Morocco expressed his condolences to Rayan’s parents in a telephone call.
“After the tragic accident that cost the life of the child Rayan Oram, His Majesty King Mohammed VI called the parents of the boy who died after he fell at the well,” reads a statement from the royal court.
Social media footage shows Rayan’s body wrapped in a yellow blanket after being pulled through a tunnel dug for the rescue.
In a Facebook post, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his condolences to the family.
“Tonight I want to tell the family of little Rayan and the Moroccan people that we share their pain,” he said.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, expressed his condolences to Rayan’s family.
“Our deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of the child Rayan and the fraternal Moroccan nation and to all mankind who mourned his loss,” Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter.
The UAE’s response has drawn criticism from those who have condemned its involvement in the conflict in Yemen, including Mahmoud Refaat, president of the Paris-based European Institute of International Law and International Relations.
Very sad for death of #Rayanmy condolences to his family and everyone #Morocco. The news of Rayan’s death has broken the hearts of millions around the world. Meanwhile, world conscience of thousands of children MUST be shaken to death by famine & bomb of #VAE & # Saudi Arabia in #Yemen#Rayan pic.twitter.com/EZhKpC01RB
– Mahmoud Refaat (@DrMahmoudRefaat) 5 February 2022
Social media influencer Amjad Taha, who heads the British Middle East Center for Studies and Research, said Ryan’s ordeal “united humanity”.
He united humanity and then left. In moments of joy and sorrow, he showed us that, regardless of our faith or ethnicity, we will stand together. TEAR #Rayan. Our thoughts and prayers R with his loved ones (family, Morocco, the world). You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten#Rayan pic.twitter.com/pfM6TQ3mPL
Amjad Taha Amjad Taha @ amjadt25 5 February 2022
Twitter users also paid tribute to rescuer Ali Sahrawi, a digging expert who dug with his bare hands for hours.
– putput ᵕ̈ (@skydussst) 5 February 2022