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

Police arrest Indigenous pipeline protester occupying B.C. park

Led by Kanahus Manuel, the Tiny House Warriors moved into park in Clearwater last week

Police investigating more racist slogans on First Nations signs

Police are investigating racist graffiti being posted on First Nations signs in the Kamloops area

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Update: Kamloops wildfire now mapped at 500 hectares

Firefighters worked overnight on what was a fast-growing wildfire east of Kamloops.

Busy summer season for Clearwater’s Smokin True Ranch

By Jaime Polmateer It’s looking like a busy season for the Smokin… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

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

Crews battle fire northeast of Terrace

The 10-hectare fire was discovered Saturday

Northern B.C. cadet goes from English Channel to BC Summer Games

Amber Ly is taking her experience aboard the tall ship Royalist with to Cowichan July 19-22

Intertidal Music Festival back for round two

More than 20 performances throughout the day at the North Pacific Cannery on July 21

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Most Read