VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Sunday praised the people of Morocco for coming together to try to rescue a small boy trapped in a well and said he was saddened that their efforts were not successful.
Rayan Awram, 5, fell into the well in the hills near the northern city of Chefchaouen on Tuesday, triggering a huge rescue effort that gripped the country and many around the word. The child died before rescuers were able to reach him on Saturday evening.
“The people clung together, as a whole, to save Rayan, they worked together to save a child,” the pope said during his weekly blessing in St. Peter’s Square.
“(The rescuers) tried their best, unfortunately they did not make it, but that (was) an example,” he said.
Italians in particular were moved by the story of Rayan because it was similar to a tragedy in 1981 when scores of rescuers tried to save the life of Alfredino Rampi, a 6-year-old boy who was trapped in a well for three days before he died.
(Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Philip Pullella and Frances Kerry)