Vietnam rescuers battle to save boy from 35-metre hole

Hundreds of rescuers in Vietnam battled Monday to free a 10-year-old boy who fell into a 35-metre-deep hole at a construction site two days ago.

The boy, named Thai Ly Hao Nam, fell into the shaft of a hollow concrete pillar just 25 centimetres wide, sunk as part of a new bridge in southern Dong Thap province, apparently while looking for scrap metal, a rescuer told AFP by phone.

"We are trying our best. We cannot tell the boy's condition yet,"  the rescuer said, identifying himself only as Sau.

According to media reports, rescuers have tried drilling and softening the surrounding soil to try to pull the pillar up to save Nam.

Authorities "are not sure about the current condition of the boy. He has stopped interacting with the outside though oxygen had always been pumped into the" hole, the Vietnamese Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.

On Monday, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh asked federal-level rescuers to join efforts by local authorities to save the boy.

tmh/pdw/aha