Rescue operations continued on Saturday night to pull out a three-year-old boy who fell into an abandoned borewell near Manaparai in the district, even as authorities suffered a setback as the child slipped further.
The child, who fell into the 600 ft borewell while playing near his house at Nadukattupatti on Friday evening, was initially stuck at a depth of 35 feet but drifted further to over 90 feet with efforts to rescue him commencing last evening.
Oxygen is being continuously supplied to the boy who has been trapped since 5.30 pm. According to officials, six teams were involved in the rescue operations.
"We could hear the child weeping.. for a long time.. but now we cannot hear. But we feel the child is safe and breathing," the officials said.
Authorities said they were unable to assess the boy's condition because of the layers of wet mud around him.
Specialised teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and state Disaster Response Force (SDRF) joined the rescue operations.
State Health and Family Welfare Minister C Vijayabaskar, who has been camping at the site since Friday night, said all efforts were on to save the child.
A parallel borewell of one metre in diameter was being dug to rescue the child, he added.
The efforts would require three to four hours, he noted.
Minister Vellamandi Natarajan was also overseeing the rescue operations.
Hundreds of people in the state prayed for the child, with political leaders such as DMK president M K Stalin and AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran joining them in wishing that the boy was rescued at the earliest.
According to officials, efforts to rescue the child included the use of modern equipment.
Meanwhile, the district administration ordered that all open bore wells in the district be closed.