Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Boy found alive hours after plunging into drainage pipe

Authorities launched a frantic search for a 13-year-old boy who witnesses say fell into a drainage ditch in an abandoned maintenance building at Griffith Park Boy, 13, falls 25 feet into sewage pipes, where waste flows at 15 mph into the Los Angeles River, sparking a 100-person manhunt
Cary Erickson | 03 April, 2018, 03:16

Jesse saw a glimpse of light when the sewage hatch was opening, Scott said.

"We have found Jesse Hernandez", LA Fire Captain Erik Scott announced.

A 13-year-old boy that fell 7.5 metres into a drain has been found alive and well after a 13-hour search. There were two cameras floating from each side of the 6,400-foot search area identified by the sanitation department. "Right away, our team focused on that location".

Scott said crews were extremely concerned that Jesse wouldn't be found safe due to the fall and the hazardous material inside the pipes.

Dominique Barraza, 16, a family friend, said she and other family members have been attempting to call the 13-year-old. They lowered (a) hose ... he caught onto the hose.

Firefighters gave him a cellphone so he could reassure his family, and paramedics took the teen to a hospital for decontamination and medical aid, Scott said.

"We called, sent text messages - it rings but it goes to voicemail", Barraza said.

The accident happened at about 4:30 p.m. local time on Sunday when the boy fell about 25 feet into a sewer pipe, the fire department said.

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Los Angeles officials say the pipe where he fell into was wide enough that Jesse could stand.

"All possible City resources are being utilized in the search for Jesse", the fire department said in a statement.

"It's sad that this happens to him because he just came to the park to have fun", he said. He fell into a sewage system that led to the L.A. River.

To find Jesse, rescuers turned to technology, hoping sophisticated waterproof cameras used to inspect the city's drainage system would provide a glimpse of the missing boy. LAFD's Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces also mounted a specialized camera on a flotation device which was tethered to a rope and extended 300 feet down a pipe.

More than 100 LAFD firefighters and park rangers were scrambled.

One camera crawled along the bottom of pipes and transmitted images to crews nearby.

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.

And officials from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and California Highway Patrol arrived soon after, with multiple helicopters hovering overhead.