16th June 2019
Miners cage Totalan
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Julen autopsy: toddler died from fall into well

The final autopsy report of Julen Rosello, the toddler who was found dead 13 days after falling into a well in Totalan (Malaga), has indicated that the child died from the fall.

Hundreds of engineers, police and miners had been working round-the-clock under the media glare to try to reach two-year-old Julen during a 13-day rescue operation in January.

Forensics now indicate that the toddler’s death took place at 13.50h, just a ‘few minutes’ after falling into the well.

In addition, forensic experts have ruled out that the death was caused by the use of any pickaxe during the rescue work.

Julen fell into the well that was only 25cm in diameter and just over 70m deep on Sunday 13 January. His body was found at 1.25am on Saturday 26 January by the rescue teams – and at 3.29am the body was brought to the surface.

Miners cage Totalan
A crane lifts a cage used to lower the miners at the site where a child fell down a well in Totalan, southern Spain, on 24 January 2019. (Jorge Guerrero / AFP)

According to legal sources revealed to the Europa Press news agency, forensics indicate that the cause of death was cranioencephalic trauma and spinal cord injury. There were two fractures, one in the occipital area and another in the left temporal region.

The forensic specialists have also pointed out that it was not a free fall, but ‘slowed down’ by the friction of clothing and sections jutting out within the well.

Spain had been riveted by the complex search-and-rescue operation, which was fraught with complications that caused delay upon delay as Julen’s distraught parents and relatives had stood by.

Rescuers were not able to get to Julen via the well he fell down because it was blocked by a layer of earth, sand and stones believed to have been dislodged when he tumbled in.

After unsuccessfully trying to suck up the blockage using machines, they decided to dig a vertical shaft parallel to the well.

The idea was to secure the shaft with tubes then take elite miners down in a specially made cage to start digging a horizontal tunnel to the site where they believe the child was.

But the tubes designed to secure the shaft did not fit, so they had to widen it, delaying the operation further.

Eventually they succeeded and expert miners then began painstakingly digging a four-metre tunnel to join both channels, with the help of small, controlled explosions.

Unfortunately when the rescue team finally reached the spot where they were looking for Julen, they discovered the lifeless body of the toddler.

 

 

 

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