Miners in southern Spain edged closer on Friday to the area where a two-year-old boy who fell down a well 12 days ago is believed to be.
As of around 8.30pm CET, miners had cleared 3.35 metres of the final four-metre horizontal stretch that is believed to lead to two-year-old Julen, Civil Guard spokesperson Jorge Martin told a press conference.
However, the final efforts were being slowed by hard rock, which Martin said the miners would need to clear by setting off a fourth "controlled detonation".
The spokesman warned that the process would take time, as the miners needed to be careful to avoid the child.
Julen fell into the 25-centimetre-wide hole as his family walked through a private estate in Totalan, Malaga on January 13.
In efforts to find him, rescue teams drilled a parallel shaft to the well, from which miners have been tunneling the final four metres.
Earlier on Friday, Martin spoke about how the "extremely hard material" had slowed the rescue efforts.
“You have to follow the rhythm of the mountain," he said.
His words echoed those of Santiago Suarez, the former head of the Hunosa Mine Rescue Brigade, who spoke to Euronews earlier this week about what to expect from the final stretch of the mission.
“In the mine... the material is softer, be it coal or any type of metal."
"(The well rescue) is going to be a little slower because it is a very hard rock that is going to hinder and delay progress," he explained.