IT is every parent’s worst nightmare.
Their baby boy, just two years old, trapped in a dark, cramped space with no one able to reach him.
At first his cries for his mummy give family and friends hope, but they stopped hearing those a long time ago.
Now the world is watching as hundreds of experts and emergency services attempt to reach little Julen, who fell down the tiny well in Totalan in Malaga on Sunday.
His parents were enjoying a day with the family and were cooking paella on a nearby farm when he fell into the 107-metre deep hole.
A rescue operation was quickly sparked and the story has grabbed headlines around the world.
The difficulty has come from the well being just 25 centimetres in diameter, meaning no one can possibly gain access from above.
The distraught parents have been sleeping in a car next to the well since Sunday.
“Where else could I be?” dad Jose told Diario Sur, “Even here I am too far from him to bear.
“My son is in there and I cannot reach him.”
He added that he and his wife were ‘dead inside’.
It came after Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted support for the couple, which for Jose, while he appreciated the gesture, wasn’t enough.
“I just need action… we still don’t know anything about our son.”
The desperate dad, who lost a three-year-old son two years ago, said he heard Julen crying after he had fallen into the well.
“I moved as much as I could all the stones that were there so that they did not fall into the hole,” he said, “I listened to my son cry, but he could not do anything.”
Now there is no crying coming from the well.
Yesterday rescuers said they feared he may have become trapped underneath a plug of sand which may give way to a pool of water.
Since dawn today they have been focusing on building an adjacent tunnel to reach the boy.
The idea is to open a lateral and horizontal hole, taking advantage of the slope in the mountain, and to dig horizontally.
It is believed to be the safest option and will have the lowest risk of causing a collapse.
Firefighters and the Guardia Civil have created a team with ten of the best engineering companies who all offered their help in the rescue, with three factors influencing decision making.
“The first thing is the safety of the child, to access him without creating any damage,” explained an officer to Diario Sur.
“Then there is time, we want to do everything with the maximum speed.
“In fact, some alternatives are discarded because they are very slow.
“Also, the lay and structure of the land is taken into account, since there are solutions that are very difficult or impossible.”
Meanwhile, sources have confirmed that it is illegal to leave an open well unsealed.
The opening of holes in the ground for the use of groundwater is regulated by Ley 9/2010 of the Water for Andalucia law.
It states that any action of this type must be authorised by the relevant ministry.
The law also says if it is not being used the well must be sealed.
The Junta has yet to confirm whether or not a permit was obtained for the well in question.