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

Abbotsford woman charged after police find loaded gun in bag at mall

Danielle Rigdon, now facing 11 charges this year, was on house arrest at the time

Vehicle crashes, flips on its side in downtown Mission

The vehicle came to a stop in front of the Mission Post Office

SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford celebrates balmy start to spring

Readers share photos of how they’re enjoying the glorious sunshine

Abbotsford the hottest spot in Canada as temperatures near 25 C

Abbotsford hottest spot in Canada on Tuesday

Abbotsford school officials hope for new school approval before July

Eagle Mountain elementary school proposed back in October 2016 may finally see light this year

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Most Read