LA teen rescued 12 hours after falling into sewage pipe

Lucy Bush
April 3, 2018

That's where Jesse was found.

After an accident like Jesse's, rescuers say the likelihood of someone being found safe diminishes by the hour.

"A tremendous team effort over the past 12 hours resulted in the best outcome, Jesse Hernandez was found alive this morning", the LAFD said in a statement. "Firefighter/Paramedics provided immediate medical care, decontamination and transport to a local hospital for a complete medical evaluation", the Los Angeles Fire Department said Monday.

"At 4 o'clock ... one of the cameras saw some handprints on the sewer inside the pipe", Adel Hagekhalil with the L.A. Bureau of Sanitation said.

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"They ... broke that maintenance hole loose, opened it, and the first thing they heard is 'help, ' " the official said. The boy was jumping on a wooden plank when the plank gave way and he fell some 25 feet down a drainage pipe full of running water, according to KNBC.

The boy was given a cell phone so he could immediately contact his family. Family members wrapped in blankets stayed at the search command post overnight.

And officials from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and California Highway Patrol arrived soon after, with multiple helicopters hovering overhead. The area, a decommissioned LA city sanitation facility, was fenced off, authorities said. "They wanted to bring Jesse back to his family". The boy was given a cellphone to call his family, "who, as you can imagine, are overwhelmed with joy", the Los Angeles Fire Department captain said.

"It's sad that this happens to him because he just came to the park to have fun", he said. Investigators believe he was playing in the area with other children when he fell through the roof of a 20-foot concrete building into a drainage sewage system below.

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Erik Scott made the announcement at 5:41 a.m. The system includes water from the Los Angeles River but can also trap gases, making the search unsafe for rescue teams. 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.

Cameras used to inspect pipes for fix were used to float at the top of the pipe and crawl along the bottom, Scott said.

The pipes are four feet in diameter with varying depths of water moving at approximately 15 miles per hour, the department added.

More than 100 LAFD firefighters and park rangers were scrambled.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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