The heartbroken father of a two-year-old boy who fell down a 350ft-deep well in a freak accident has said he is clinging to the hope an angel watching over them will save his son’s life.
Julen Rosello plunged down the 10-inch borehole around 2pm on Sunday as his dad Jose prepared a family paella.
Rescuers have yet to locate the missing boy underground – but confirmed on Wednesday morning hair found in a blockage of earth and sand around 250ft down which Julen is thought to be under was the youngster’s.
His parents Jose and Vicky, both 29, have spent day and night at the spot near Totalan a half-hour’s drive from the Costa del Sol capital of Malaga which is now the scene of a massive search and rescue operation involving police, firefighters, Civil Protection workers and private sector experts.
This is the first picture of two-year-old Julen (pictured with his family), who has been trapped down a well for four days
This photo posted by local firefighters show the small 15in-wide hole Julen fell down on Sunday afternoon
Speaking shortly before a claim by a Spanish news website that the boy’s body had been located which government officials later confirmed was a false alarm, Jose said: ‘We’re dead inside but with the hope we have an angel watching over us who is going to help him to come out alive as soon as possible.’
Asked what was giving him strength, he added as he fought back tears: ‘Knowing that I’m going to see my son alive.’
Jose gave his first impromptu press conference since Sunday’s accident alongside the father of a Spanish five-year-old girl killed by a paedophile in January 2008.
Juan Jose Cortes, who received a message of support from Gerry and Kate McCann after his daughter Mari Luz’s body was found, travelled to the search scene to comfort Julen’s family.
Jose and fast food restaurant worker Vicky, who live in the Malaga neighbourhood of El Palo, lost a three-year-old son two years ago.
Oliver died instantly after suffering a heart attack in May 2017 believed to be linked to a congenital heart defect, 21 days after collapsing in the street while he was out with an older relative.
Julen Rosello’s mother Vicki was seen at the search site earlier on Wednesday
The boy’s distraught mother, Vicky, waits anxiously for an update at the scene on Tuesday afternoon
Overnight his father, who lives in the Malaga neighbourhood of El Palo, recalled the moment he realised Julen had disappeared down the borehole on a family-owned property as he prepared lunch with friends and relatives including a cousin.
He told a Spanish TV programme: ‘I was putting some more wood on for the fire and ran towards him.
‘My cousin was a bit nearer and threw herself on the ground as I reached the orifice.
‘He had already gone. I heard him cry at first but then I didn’t hear him cry anymore.’
Fighting back tears in an emotional message to his son, he said: ‘The only thing I can say is ‘Stay calm Julen. Daddy loves you and your brother is going to help us.’
In an interview with Malaga-based paper Sur he added: ‘My wife went to phone into work to let them know she wasn’t going.
A massive rescue team are at the well with specialist equipment to ‘suck’ earth out of the well to reveal whether the boy is trapped underneath
‘She was with Julen and asked me to keep an eye on him as she made the call. He was only a few feet away.
‘I went to get a couple of logs for the fire for the paella and he began to run.
‘We saw how he fell down the hole, my cousin more than me because she was closer.’
A Swedish firm which helped locate the 33 Chilean miners rescued in 2010 after 69 days underground has joined the massive operation to try to locate Julen ahead of his hoped-for rescue alive.
Civil Guard officers leading the operation have not yet spotted the youngster on a rotating camera lowered into the borehole on a robot, retrieving only a bag of sweets and a plastic cup from the same blockage of sand and earth where the boy’s hair was discovered.
Police insist they are working on the basis Julen is still alive, although privately officials have admitted the chances he will have survived what is likely to be more than 100 hours underground are slim unless he is in an air pocket and has access to water.
Officials have said they hope to reach Julen between 24 and 48 hours from the start of excavation work on a new tunnel on Wednesday night.
Preparation work on one of two tunnels planned – a horizontal tunnel which will be dug across the hillside in the direction of the well Julen is trapped in – took place during most of Wednesday.
Family members console each other yesterday as the rescue team worked round the clock to find the child
Another vertical tunnel running parallel to the borehole the youngster is in is also planned.
Work to ‘suck’ off earth and sand in the hole he fell down is still ongoing, but it was hampered by machinery breakage and has been interrupted so the inside of the borehole can be cased to make it safer.
Julen’s dad has revealed the borehole was made by a prospector at the request of his cousin’s boyfriend but no water had been found.
The prospector has told police he complied with the law by sealing the hole after it was made but Julen’s family say it had simply been covered with stones that weren’t properly laid.
A report published by Spanish news website El Confidencial at lunchtime today claiming the boy’s body had been found in the well was dismissed as a false alarm by government officials and police.
The website later withdrew its report from its website, prompting anger from social media users and a tweet from a regional emergency services coordinator which said: ‘Don’t report false news.
‘Trust only official sources and don’t spread rumour or information that hasn’t been confirmed.’
Mission: More than 100 firefighters and emergency workers in southern Spain are searching for the two-year-old