Mourners have gathered in Morocco to farewell the little boy who died after becoming trapped inside a well.
Villagers and emergency crews had spent five days trying to save five-year-old Rayan who fell about 30 metres on February 1.
On Saturday, his apparent rescue was met with cheers from the crowd – and relief around the world, as the efforts were broadcast live and shared on social media with the hashtag #SaveRayan. But within minutes it became clear that the boy could not be revived.
In emotional scenes in the boy’s hometown of Ighrane, near Chefchaouen in northern Morocco, hundreds of people knelt in prayer for Rayan after his coffin was buried at a cemetery outside the village.
“May God be with my son,” his father told Chouf TV.
Rayan’s parents said their son had been playing while his father repaired the well. They realised he was trapped when they heard his cries.
The opening of the well was just 45 centimetres wide, too narrow for rescuers to reach Rayan. They eventually used machinery to excavate the site, after sending down oxygen and food.
Cameras monitored the boy’s condition while crowds gathered day and night to pray for his safety.
He was pulled from the well late on Saturday night, covered in a blanket and put in a stretcher to be carried to an ambulance.
Morocco’s royal palace confirmed Rayan’s death later that night.