Rescuers have found the body of a two-year-old boy who fell into a 250ft deep well nearly two weeks ago – as it is revealed his parents are still grieving the death of their firstborn.
The body of Julen Rosello was found at 1.25am local time today after rescuers dug out a 13ft horizontal tunnel by hand.
Jose and Vicky Rosello, both 29, kept their hopes up during the 12-day ordeal, saying they were praying for their son after he plunged down a borehole on a private estate in Totalan, southern Spain, on January 13.
It’s yet more heartbreak for the family after their first child Oliver suffered a sudden heart attack in May 2017 and died instantly.
Jose and Vicky Rosello lost their firstborn Oliver (thought to be pictured with brother Julen) to a sudden heart attack – just two years before his younger brother fell down a 250ft-deep well
The parents – both 29 – in floods of tears yesterday as they waited painfully for updates on Julen. Rescuers found the two-year-old’s body at 1.25am today
The couple maintained hope throughout the 12-day ordeal, saying they were praying Oliver is looking down on Julen from heaven and keeping him safe
The boy, who was three at the time, is believed to have suffered from congenital heart disease which affects up to eight in every 1,000 babies.
Julen had barely turned seven months old when his older brother passed.
His mother Vicky held Oliver for three hours after his death in the children’s hospital, according to Spanish media.
This is the small hole Julen fell down on January 13 after wandering off from his family
Julen Rosello, pictured, fell into the bore hole while out with his family near Totalan
The parents – who ‘dreamed of one day having a big family’ – visit Oliver’s grave every week and talk to him for hours.
They say they’re now praying Oliver is watching over his little brother from heaven and keeping him safe.
Fighting back tears in an emotional message to his son last week, Jose said: ‘Stay calm Julen. Daddy loves you and your brother is going to help us.’
‘Oliver, don’t forget your brother, Julen,’ his mother wrote on social media,
‘You know we’ve been waiting for him for many hours. I know you protect him a lot, my little King.’
Julen’s 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.
Jose Rosello (left), father of Julen, cries as rescue efforts continue to find the boy. He told Julen ‘Daddy loves you and your brother is going to help us’
Julen’s parents, Jose Rosello (in the grey coat) and Vicky Garcia (wearing a yellow scarf), pictured, have been keeping a vigil awaiting news of their missing son
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.’
Rescue experts resorted to using explosives to break through the 10ft wall of hard rock separating rescuers from the narrow shaft where the toddler was trapped.
More than 100 workers spent 11 days sinking a 300ft relief shaft beside the original well after the toddler disappeared 12 days ago.
Rescuers searching for the two-year-old boy used explosives to reach the space where he was stuck (pictured, the rescue site yesterday)
Pictured: the rescuers being lowered to the bottom of the shaft in this cage before beginning the delicate task of tunnelling into the borehole yesterday
Rescue experts, lowered into the new shaft in a capsule, yesterday completed the first 3ft of a horizontal tunnel as they looked to bridge the 13ft gap.
The government’s office in the southern province of Malaga said yesterday it had taken around 16 hours to dig through the first half.
As rescuers burrowed down, they discovered no signs of life since he fell into the well, aside from a few strands of his hair and the bag of sweets he was carrying.
Teams of two rescuers dug a 13ft tunnel between the relief shaft to find Julen Rosello
The rescue bid has cost at least £500,000, but authorities were determined to find the boy and bring him back to the surface in a rescue mission that has gripped Spain.
Alfonso Celis, regional government representative, said on Wednesday: ‘Members of the Mines Rescue Brigade sent from Asturias (region) have just accessed the vertical well to start excavation in the search for Julen.’
Miners working in rotating shifts will dig a four-metre passage with picks, pneumatic hammers and explosives from the bottom of the shaft towards the borehole, which is 300ft deep and just 10ins wide.
Members of the public have been holding vigils across Spain praying for Julen
Teams equipped with oxygen masks will work for 40 minutes each in conditions so tight they can only dig kneeling or lying down.
The process of crossing the divide between the two shafts could take up to 24 hours, emergency services chief, Ángel García Vidal, has said.
Meanwhile children and families have been holding candlelight vigils across Spain in support of the missing boy and of the massive rescue operation, even as hopes of finding him alive have faded with each passing day.