A complicated rescue mission that has lingered on due to the nature of the terrain and fear of landslides has left the whole nation with their hearts in their mouths, hoping young Julen will hold on that little bit longer until rescue teams find him.
Residents of Totalán, the Malaga village where events are unfolding, have pulled together in support for the toddler’s parents, José and Victoria, who tragically lost another child due to a heart condition.
But Julen’s situation also has the whole of Spain in a state of anxiety, hoping that somehow soon, the nightmare will all be over.
The following images tell the story of how the past nine days have unfolded and the outpouring of grief and support for young Julen's rescue mission from all across Spain.
On January 13, Spanish emergency services receive a call from two distressed parents who tell them their son has fallen down an unmarked well.
It didn't take long before rescuers realised the toddler couldn't be located with the help of a camera lowered into the hole, believing Julen was underneath another layer of gravel that collapsed when he fell in.
— Police Fitness España ® (@PFEspana) January 19, 2019
Hoy los superhéroes no llevan capa. Ni son de Marvel. Llevan la ropa sucia y son mineros, fabricantes de tubos y conductores de grúas. Están en Totalán para rescatar a Julen… Y nuestra fe en España gracias a esos españoles ocultos que cada día fabrican un mundo mejor. Gracias. pic.twitter.com/ZQejYMfBGJ
— Jesús Arroyo (@GenteQueLucha) January 20, 2019
— Pachi Idígoras (@Pachi_Idigoras) January 22, 2019
Julien's rescue mission has unfortunately been riddled with setbacks. Rescuers abandoned an initial plan to reach the toddler with an angled tunnel because of repeated collapses and landslides.
— Telediarios de TVE (@telediario_tve) January 20, 2019
Workers then installed a giant drilling machine on Saturday at the site to start digging a vertical tunnel parallel to the well, to a depth of 60 metres.
This was finished on Monday, leading the rescue team to believe they're the closest that they have been to Julen so far.
— Andi Hill (@newscamera75) January 19, 2019
#Julen sigue ocupando todo nuestro esfuerzo con la profesionalidad,dedicación y generosidad de Guardia Civil, Bomberos,112,psicólogas, voluntarios,técnicos,empresas, profesionales,un equipo enorme que demuestra cuánta solidaridad hay en este caso.Siempre cerca de la familia. pic.twitter.com/QIMCYAWWbm
— María Gámez Gámez (@Maria2Gamez) January 16, 2019
Julen’s parents José and Victoria have all of Spain supporting them, their tears and sorrow striking a chord with parents at home and abroad. The child’s father has been open to talking to the press and has given a heart-breaking description of how Julen fell.
“The well was covered with two stones. When I saw him close to it I ran after him. Then I saw my cousin, who was closer to Julen, fall to the ground.
“I rushed to the hole and at first heard him cry, then I couldn’t hear him anymore.
All I could say to him was “Julen, be calm, Daddy loves and your little brother (the couple’s deceased child) is going to help us.”
Nuestro cariño y apoyo para José y Victoria, padres de #Julen, en estas angustiosas horas de espera.
Los equipos de emergencias y voluntarios están trabajando intensamente para localizarle en el pozo de #Totalán #Málaga
— Emergencias Sevilla (@EmergenciasSev) January 16, 2019