A Vietnamese boy died when he fell into a hollow 10-inch wide concrete shaft that's 115 feet deep, after a national rescue effort over 5 days

Hundreds of rescuers in Vietnam battled January 2 to free a 10-year-old boy who fell into a 115-foot deep hole on a construction site two days ago.
Hundreds of rescuers in Vietnam battled January 2 to free a 10-year-old boy who fell into a 115-foot deep hole on a construction site two days ago.STR/AFP via Getty Images
  • A 10-year-old boy in Vietnam fell into a hollow 10-inch wide concrete pillar on Saturday, sparking a major rescue mission.

  • Rescuers tried to pull the 115-foot pillar after drilling around it on Sunday, but to no avail.

  • Vietnam's Prime Minister ordered a national rescue effort on Monday to save the boy.

A 10-year-old boy who fell into the shaft of a hollow concrete pillar on Saturday has died, Vietnamese authorities said Wednesday.

At around 11:55 a.m. Hanoi time on Saturday, Thai Ly Hao Nam fell into a shaft 115 feet deep and only 10 inches wide, said rescue authorities per local outlet VnExpress.

Since then, rescuers worked for 100 hours to save the boy. They will now attempt to retrieve his body, VnExpress reported.

Nam lived in the rural district of Thanh Binh in Dong Thap province and was the youngest of four siblings.

He and his three friends had gone to a bridge construction site looking for scrap iron, when Nam accidentally fell into the hollow concrete pile, the outlet reported.

Witnesses said they heard Nam crying for help around 10 minutes after he fell in, per Tuoi Tre News.

"I cannot understand how he fell into the hollow concrete pillar," Le Hoang Bao, the director of the provincial Department of Transport, told Tuoi Tre News, citing the pile's narrow 10-inch diameter.

Rescuers tried to pull the pillar out of the ground after drilling three spots around the concrete pile for 20 hours on Sunday, but were unsuccessful, the outlet wrote.

A firefighting officer from a veteran rescue unit said the pillar is too narrow for a rescuer to crawl into, and that Nam's attempted rescue was "very complicated," per VnExpress.

"The only solution is to pull the pillar up," he told the outlet.

On Monday, Pham Minh Chinh, the Vietnamese prime minister, ordered the country's ministers for national defense, public security, transport, and construction to assist the effort to rescue Nam, per state-owned broadcaster Voice of Vietnam.

 

Rescuers look down into the site of where a 10-year-old boy is thought to be trapped in a 35-metre deep shaft at a bridge construction area in Vietnam's Dong Thap province on January 2, 2023.
Rescuers look down into the site of where a 10-year-old boy is thought to be trapped in a 35-meter deep shaft at a bridge construction area in Vietnam's Dong Thap province on January 2, 2023.STR/AFP via Getty Images

When rescuers tried to locate Nam's position with a camera on Monday, they received no response from the boy, Reuters reported. By then, he had been trapped for over 48 hours.

Several hundred people, including firefighters and police officers, and excavators, cranes, and augers were mobilized by Tuesday to rescue Nam, according to newswire Asia News Network. 

As of Wednesday evening, the concrete pillar remains underground, VnExpress reported.

The national rescue operation hearkens to the heroic 2018 Thai effort to save 12 boys and their 25-year-old assistant coach from a flooded cave in Chiang Rai. The group was trapped for 18 days in total, but were rescued between July 8 and 10 after Thailand deployed around 10,000 people, including Navy Seal divers and 2,000 soldiers for the operation.

The Vietnamese National Committee for Search and Rescue did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.

Editor's note: January 5, 2023: This story was updated to reflect the death of Thai Ly Hao Nam.

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