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

Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Tentative deal with province includes ‘working short premium’ to encourage hiring

Victoria city council seeks authority to tax empty homes

Council is asking the province for the authority to invoke a vacancy tax

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes says municipality will re-group after Rowing Canada decision

Haynes said he is “quite disappointed” but also respects choice of North Cowichan as national centre

Saanich police dog tracks dangerous driver after car ditched in Oak Bay

Man may face charges of dangerous driving and mischief

Backyardigans, Max & Ruby stage shows add to Family Day in Sidney

Bodine Hall shows make room for kids to sing, dance, enjoy Family Day weekend

VIDEO: Excessive speed on the Malahat captured by dash cam footage

Poster calls driving ‘dangerous, obnoxious and disrespectful’

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Most Read