LA teen rescued 12 hours after falling into sewage pipe

03 April, 2018, 04:45 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • 13-year-old boy found after 12 hours stuck in sewer pipe

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

The Los Angeles Times reported Jesse Hernandez was at Griffith Park on Sunday afternoon where he and his cousins were jumping on wooden planks in an abandoned maintenance building. When a plank broke, Jesse fell about 25 feet (8 meters) and landed in fast-moving sewage, said Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department. The location is so remote that authorities closed the westbound 134 Freeway before safely extricating the boy, who was dripping wet.

First responders provided immediate medical care and decontamination, and the teen was then taken to a local hospital for a complete medical evaluation.

Jesse was trapped in the "intricate, enclosed" pipe system overnight during the "relentless" search for him that lasted 13 hours, LAFD Capt. Erik Scott told ABC News.

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"We're keeping Jesse's health and recovery in our thoughts today", he said.

"At 4 o'clock ... one of the cameras saw some handprints on the sewer inside the pipe", Adel Hagekhalil with the L.A. Bureau of Sanitation said. He will be decontaminated due to possible toxic substances in the pipes, Scott said.

The first thing Jesse wanted was a cellphone to call his family. "The Mayor's Crisis Response Team is on scene helping to console and support family members".

Devin Hernandez described his friend Jesse as "really nice" and said they had earlier been playing soccer together before parting ways so each of their families could do an Easter egg hunt.

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Rescuers narrowed the search area from 6,400 feet to 2,400 feet of pipe feeding into the Los Angeles river.

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

The fire department noted the "excellent teamwork" among agencies - which include fire and its urban search and rescue, police, highway patrol, city recreation and parks, park rangers, the water and power department, and experts from the sanitation, engineering and contract administration bureaus. They attached a camera to a floatation device and send it 300 feet down the pipe. Firefighters were also using gas meters during the hours-long search.

Cameras used to inspect pipes for fix were used to float at the top of the pipe and crawl along the bottom, Scott said.

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Throughout the system, pipes are filled with varying depths of water moving at 15 miles per hour.

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