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

Three Nelson organizations get provincial funding to fight violence against women

The money is part of $6.5 million from the provincial government

COLUMN: Facing the perils of social media

We don’t want to be governed by people with shrinking brains

Nelson to hold open house on cannabis survey results

City staff will review results and present options for regulation

Earth Day Parade!

Event rolls down Baker Street

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Renewed plea for answers in 40-year-old B.C. cold case

The family of Lawrence Wellington Allard is hoping a private reward will get them some closure

UPDATED: Arrest made after van hits pedestrians in Toronto

Police are not saying what is the extent of injuries yet

B.C. farmland values grew at slower rate in 2017: report

Vancouver Island saw the highest growth in the province

Lt. Governor back in the saddle, with a legacy of land stewardship

Judith Guichon ends term today, returns to Nicola Valley ranch

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Maple Leafs look to stay alive tonight as they face elimination against Boston on home ice

Electric vehicles more affordable than you think: BC Hydro

Myths blocking road to electric vehicle adoption

Kinder Morgan bungled pipeline public relations: poll

The survey suggests 58 per cent of Canadians believe the company is to blame for poor perceptions

Most Read