Algeria man, 26, dies in well after failed six-day rescue effort

Officials say the rescue operation was complicated by the overflow of groundwater around the narrow pipeline.

Algeria well incident
A number of Algerians have criticised the government for its slow mobilisation [Screenshot/Al Jazeera]

A man in northern Algeria has died after authorities spent nearly a week trying to rescue him from a 30-metre-deep well he had fallen into, civil defence officials said.

Ayache Mahdjoubi from the city of El Houamed in M’sila province – located about 250km south of the capital, Algiers – was pronounced dead on Sunday, ending a six-day ordeal.

It was unclear how the 26-year-old ended up in the well. 

Officials in the rural district said efforts to rescue Mahdjoubi, which involved digging around the narrow 36-centimetre-wide pipeline, were complicated by the overflow of groundwater around the structure. 

A number of Algerians however criticised the government over the pace with which authorities reacted to the incident, saying that Mahdjoubi could have been rescued if civil defence units were deployed in time. 

In a video, widely shared on social media, Mahdjoubi’s brother lamented that authorities had not done enough to save him.

“He had been suffering for three days and would call me … I found no one but the people and their [modest] means. My question for you [the government] is where were you,” he asked. 

Many others took to Twitter after the announcement of Mahdjoubi’s death, denouncing the government’s efforts to rescue the victim.

“Ayache carried out his duty toward the nation but it did not reciprocate,” one Twitter user said, blaming the government for Mahdjoubi’s death. 

Translation: During the rescue operation, remember that the equipment belonged to the people and that civil defence officers are also people and mere citizens, the solidarity is popular, the food is from the people. 

Translation: These people brought the equipment. It’s not the property of the state as was said by the civil defence chief.

Translation: The government said it wouldn’t have a problem extracting shale gas while it’s incapable of rescuing a young man stuck in a well for six days.

Source: Al Jazeera