Missing boy who fell into Los Angeles sewer found alive

Marsha Scott
April 3, 2018

The boy, Jesse Hernandez, was located in the pipe system about a mile east of where he fell Sunday during a family Easter celebration at the sprawling urban park between the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood.

LAFD spokesperson Erik Scott told the station the "specialized closed-circuit TV cameras that have lights on them - we place them on pontoons to float through this pipe system".

After five hours, Hernandez still had not been found.

About 2,400 feet (731 metres) of pipe had been inspected when Bureau of Sanitation workers opened a hatch to lower a camera near the intersection of two roads and found Jesse.

"He's also going to undergo decontamination in addition to additional medical aid", the fire spokesman said.

The drainage system is part of a network of pipes four feet (1.2 metres) in diameter that run parallel to the Los Angeles River and crosses under motorways.

One camera crawled along the bottom of pipes and transmitted images to crews nearby.

"Our Crisis Response Team was deployed to provide support to the family throughout the night as they waited for news of Jesse", Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement after the boy was found. "Thank you to the Hernandez family for your patience and optimism during this harrowing experience".

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Crews went to the location and found a maintenance hole to access the pipe, the official said.

Local officials rushed to search for Hernandez on Sunday. The closed storm drain system beneath the park, which runs to the Los Angeles River, consists of miles of pipes containing varying levels of water moving at up to 15 mph - making it too risky for rescuers to enter.

Famously in October 1987, rescuers freed an 18-month-old girl who had been trapped in a narrow, abandoned well in Midland, Texas, for more than 58 hours.

Television news footage showed dozens of firefighters in climbing gear and helmets standing over a hole in the ground, the whole area brightened by floodlights.

Dominique Barraza, 16, a family friend, said she and other family members attempted to call the 13-year-old.

"He's too young. It's just insane".

Then, on Monday morning, Jesse called them.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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