Teen found alive in LA drainage pipe after 13-hour search

Boy Survives 12 Hours In LA Sewer After Falling Into Drainage Pipe
13-year-old boy rescued, hours after disappearing into sewer pipes
Author

03 April, 2018

A 13-year-old boy was miraculously rescued after falling into a river of sewage in Los Angeles, getting swept away and spending more than 12 hours in the toxic environment of the city's mazelike underground pipeline system.

The boy, Jesse Hernandez, was located in the pipe system about a mile east of where he fell Sunday during a family Easter celebration at the sprawling urban park between the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood.

The section of pipe near where Jesse was found was so wide the teen could stand up, Scott said.

Fire officials said Hernandez was "alive and talking".

Crews are expected to search through the night.

Officials with the Department of Sanitation were reviewing the maps to determine if there are any areas Hernandez could be stuck.

"The first thing they heard was "Help", said Adel Hagekhalil, assistant general manager of the sanitation department.

Workers lowered a hose down to the boy and pulled him up.

The teenager was taken to hospital for assessment and decontamination but is expected to be released this morning.

"I've never seen a command post of big burly guys so filled with joy", department spokesman Erik Scott said.

Jesse immediately asked for a cellphone to call his family. "The Mayor's Crisis Response Team is on scene helping to console and support family members".

More news: Will the Los Angeles Rams Land Ndamukong Suh?

An "extensive" multi-agency search by air and on the ground continued overnight after Hernandez fell about 25 feet into a drainage system.

Jesse Hernandez who apparently fell into a drainage pipe was found alive today in Los Angeles, Calif. April 2, 2018.

"The expertise of the Bureau of Sanitation was instrumental in this search", Stewart said.

While jumping on one, authorities say, Jesse fell through.

"It's sad that this happens to him because he just came to the park to have fun", he said.

The pipes, which run parallel the Los Angeles River and cross under freeways, are 4 feet in diameter, the fire department said.

The team mounted a camera on a flotation device that was tethered to a rope and extended 300 feet down a pipe.

Firefighters were "also using gas meters and all available equipment to safely conduct this on-going search", the statement said. "Closed circuit" cameras that could crawl along the pipe were used during the search.

According to the LAFD, the pipes are four feet in diameter, and are filled with liquid at varying depth of two feet and deeper, sometimes moving at 15 miles per hour.

More than 100 LAFD firefighters and park rangers were scrambled.


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