A 13-year-old boy from Southern California was finally rescued after being trapped inside the city’s drainage system for 12 hours. Several agencies, including the city’s fire department, police, park rangers, highway patrol, parks and recreation, water and power, sanitation, and engineering bureaus, all pitched it to locate and rescue the boy who was lost within the city’s 6,400 foot-long drainage system.
According to a report from CNN, Jesse Hernandez was just one of many children who was gathered at an Easter celebration at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. There were about 20 family members that were reportedly gathered at that particular celebration that day. Hernandez and a few other children were reportedly playing in an old shack when a wooden board covering a pipe opening gave way under him. Hernandez reportedly fell more than 25 feet into the sewer.
The vast network of pipes travel parallel to the Los Angeles River and have varying degrees of depth. The flow of sewage water, which is filled with toxic and dangerous waste and materials coming from the city, moves at around 15 mph. Different departments scrambled to locate the boy, who may have traveled along numerous possible paths along the intricate network of pipes. Hernandez was reportedly found near the intersection of the 5 and 134 Freeway, which is more than 1 mile from where he originally fell.
As reported by ABC News, experts and officials initially tried to determine the possible route the boy could have taken, but they eventually decided to use advanced camera systems to try and search every nook and cranny. A third-party company provided floating cameras that were used in the systematic search. One of the cameras eventually spotted the frightened boy after a long and arduous search.
To the surprise of rescuers, Hernandez was eventually found conscious and able to talk when they opened a maintenance hatch. He was then immediately decontaminated and sent to the nearest hospital for further evaluation. The city’s crisis response team and the fire department thanked all of the people involved in the rescue, which apparently wouldn’t have been successful without the teamwork among the different agencies.