A 13-year-old boy who fell into a drainage pipe during an Easter outing at a Los Angeles park was rescued alive early Monday after an overnight search of the underground system, authorities said. The boy spent at least 12 hours in the system before he was found.
“We located Jesse Hernandez alive and talking,” fire Capt. Erik Scott announced before dawn. “We were able to give him a cellphone to even contact his family members (who) as you can imagine are overwhelmed with joy.”
The search began around 4:30 p.m. Sunday when the Fire Department received reports that the boy had fallen about 25 feet (8 meters) down a pipe at the city’s sprawling Griffith Park.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Jesse and cousins were jumping on wooden planks in an abandoned maintenance building when one of the planks broke and he fell.
The drainage system is part of a network that of pipes 4 feet (1.2 meters) in diameter that runs parallel to the Los Angeles River and crosses under freeways.
Numerous agencies joined the Fire Department, including the sanitation and engineering bureaus. Cameras that are normally used for pipe inspections and can both float and crawl were sent into the pipes.
About 2,400 feet (731 meters) of pipe had been inspected when Bureau of Sanitation workers opened a hatch to lower a camera near the intersection of two freeways and found the boy 12 hours after the search began.
He was treated by paramedics and taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation.