Pixabay - File drainage pipe

Teen trapped in Los Angeles pipe for 12 hours

Rescuers managed to save the teen after he fell down a drainage pipe

A 13-year-old boy who fell into a drainage pipe during a family Easter outing at a Los Angeles park was found alive early Monday following a frantic, 12-hour search of the underground system, authorities said.

The search for Jesse Hernandez began around 4:30 p.m. Sunday when the fire department received reports that the boy had fallen about 25 feet (8 metres) down a pipe at the city’s sprawling Griffith Park.

Rescuers finally spotted the boy about 12 hours later after they saw images of handprints on a sewage pipe captured by a camera they had lowered down into the system of mazelike pipes to help the search.

A sanitation crew sent a team to the area where the handprints were seen and opened a manhole.

“The first thing they heard was ‘Help,’” said Adel Hagekhalil, assistant general manager of the city’s sanitation department.

The crew lowered a hose down to Jesse, who was about 11 feet (3 metres) deep, Hagekhalil said.

“He caught onto the hose and was reeled back up and he was sat down on the floor,” Hagekhalil said.

The first thing Jesse wanted was a cellphone to call his family. A worker handed him his phone and Jesse called his mom.

“He was happy, the family was happy,” said Hagekhalil, who added that all the rescuers involved in the search were thrilled about the outcome.

“They never gave up hope,” he said. “They wanted to bring Jesse back to his family.”

About 2,400 feet (731 metres) of pipe had been inspected when sanitation workers finally found Jesse less than a mile from where he disappeared. Jesse was given immediate medical attention before he was taken to a hospital for a full evaluation, and to be reunited with his family.

“We are so pleased and happy to announce a successful outcome,” said fire Capt. Erik Scott. “As you can imagine, we’re overwhelmed with joy.”

The fire department said in a news release that “from start to finish, this was an unprecedented team effort.”

Jesse fell into the pipe after he and some other children were playing on wooden planks in an abandoned maintenance building and one of the planks broke.

After an accident like Jesse’s, rescuers say the likelihood of a happy outcome diminishes by the hour.

Also on Sunday in northern California, an 11-year-old boy fell into a canal in Meadow Vista, about 40 miles (64 kilometres) northwest of Sacramento. He was found dead a couple hours later.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Tyler Dozzi breaks national record, ‘running like a madman’

Terrace runner sets new time in Boston in his last U20 race

Most intervenor requests in crucial natural gas pipeline case rejected

At stake is whether gas pipeline to LNG Canada plant should fall under federal jurisdiction

VIDEO: RCMP stop traffic with candy canes to remind drivers not to drink and drive

Police want to prevent any bad choices from being made this holiday season

Prince Rupert lawyer awarded Queen’s counsel designation

Barry Zacharias is one of 28 lawyers to receive the award in B.C.

Prince Rupert Rampage host Teddy Bear night

Prince Rupert Rampage teamed up with the Salvation Army to give back this weekend

Shop Prince Rupert is back

These businesses are all taking part in the Shop Prince Rupert event until December 21 at noon

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

An 800-pound pig named Theodore needs a forever home, B.C. society says

‘Theodore is not destined to be somebody’s bacon’

2,000 Canadians died of an overdose in first 6 months of the year

New data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the crisis is not subsiding

WEB POLL: Should Prince Rupert ban single-use plastic bags?

Salmon Arm and Victoria have voted to ban the use of single-use plastic bags

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter shows heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

Most Read