Dramatic Rescue of Boy in Drainage Pipe

An Easter Sunday disaster turned into a miracle on Monday as a boy was rescued from a Los Angeles sewage drainage system. The drama started on Sunday when a 13-year-old boy got swept up into a drainage system while at a family gathering at LA's Griffith Park. Jesse Hernandez had been playing on an old maintenance shack in the late afternoon when the wooden planks covering an opening in the pipe gave out and he proceeded to fall approximately 25 feet and was swept up into a sewer pipe. The boy spent 12 hours stuck in the network of drainage pipes before he was finally found and rescued and taken to a local hospital for examination.

After spending the night stuck in the pipes, Hernandez was extricated approximately one mile from where he had originally fallen into the system. The boy had to be decontaminated after the rescue due to the toxic environment of the sewage pipes. The matter and fluid contained in the pipes vary in depth throughout the maze and travels at about 15mph.

Rescuers worked overnight to analyze 2,400 feet of pipe in an effort to pinpoint the location of Hernandez. Municipal officials called in floating cameras from third-party vendors to find Hernandez. The special cameras were able to float on the surface of the fluid as well as crawl along the bottom of the pipes. Because the sewage system offers multiple routes similar to a maze, the search required a methodical analyzation of every possible pathway. As the focus of the search narrowed, rescuers were able to pinpoint two main areas of possible locations. The firefighters then opened a maintenance hatch near the intersection of the 134 and 5 freeways and used that as a point of entrance. There were a number of organizations credited for working together to locate Hernandez, including police, highway patrol, park rangers, officials from the sanitation department, and engineering experts.


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