About 90 hours of anxiety and hope turned to despair and distress on Sunday as rescuers who had furiously dug a parallel tunnel to save four-year-old Mahi who fell into a narrow and deep borewell found her dead.
The operation to save Mahi, who fell into an uncovered bore well in Gurgaon district last Wednesday, gripped the nation's media.
It was at 12.00 am on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday that four-year-old Mahi Upadhyay's screams were last heard as she fell down a 68-foot bore well near her home in Manesar.
On Thursday, about 200 troops from an Indian Army unit stationed in Gurgaon were called in to help. A highly specialised digger was also called in. The Army took over the entire operations, and started working on two fronts simultaneously.
First, a CCTV camera was lowered into the borwell using a rope. Footage from the camera showed a motionless hand stretched out to one side. Doctors thought the child may have fallen unconscious. At this stage, oxygen pipes were also lowered in to the pit to help the child get the required supply of oxygen.
By Saturday, the Army came up against a roadblock.Then army took help from a group of civilians adept in digging borewells and tunnels.
Getting to the child took till Sunday afternoon.Finally, after nearly 90 agonizing hours, a soldier and one of the civilian rescuers reached the spot where Mahi lay. The girl -- the body -- was gently lifted and rushed to the nearest hospital.
30 minutes after Mahi was pulled out of the borewell, doctors pronounced Mahi dead .
Doctors, after a post-mortem examination of Mahi's body, said her body had decomposed.
"She might have died the same or the next day," Deepak Mathur, who along with BB Agrawal, conducted the post-mortem, said. The examination report has not yet been prepared.
Operation to rescue Mahi,was televised live by news channels and people offered prayers for her survival.
Through the last four days, teams from the Army, Police, National Security Guards, Gurgaon civic authorities, Gurgaon Metro Rail were involved in pulling her out.
Digging bore wells to extract water is illegal in the region of Gurgaon, where the incident took place.
The Supreme Court had made it very clear that no bore well could be left uncovered.
The district magistrate has ordered an inquiry into the incident. About 500 illegal bore wells were sealed and dismantled recently. However, the particular 'abandoned' bore well is a result of the landlord's absolute negligence.