Boy survives 12 hours in Los Angeles sewer

"One was jumping on top of a wooden plank, perhaps not knowing that it led into a drainage pipe", Hoz told KTLA."The plank gave, the wood broke, and the kid fell right through it".

"A tremendous team effort over the past 12 hours resulted in the best outcome, Jesse Hernandez was found alive this morning", the LAFD said in a statement. Such cameras are regularly used to inspect pipes for fix.

First responders provided immediate medical care and decontamination, and the teen was then taken to a local hospital for a complete medical evaluation.

The incident was reported at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday by a bystander, LAFD spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said, prompting a search that began at 5254 W. Zoo Dr., near the train museum in Griffith Park. "As you can imagine, we're all overwhelmed with joy".

Los Angeles Fire Department officials said Jesse Hernandez was found "alert and talking" at about 5:40 a.m. after a search effort that lasted more than 12 hours.

"Approximately 2,400 feet of pipe had been thoroughly inspected - and the search was continuing - when a maintenance hatch west of the westbound 134 Freeway under the 5 Freeway was opened to insert cameras".

"The first thing they heard is, 'Help!'" Hagekhalil said. That's where Jesse was found. "The Mayor's Crisis Response Team was also at the command post throughout the night providing welcomed support to the family". Rescuers were not able to enter the drainage area because it was a hazardous environment, according to spokesman for the L.A. Fire Department, David Ortiz.

Aerial footage from NewsChopper4 showed search activity at the drainage system in Griffith Park, a nearby water treatment facility and the LA River.

Officials studied maps of the closed sewage pipe system, which stretches a total of some 6,400 feet, and sent a camera attached to a flotation device down a pipe. The cameras "have more advanced capabilities including lighting and the ability to attach to a pontoon which will crawl along the pipe".

Throughout the system, pipes are filled with varying depths of water moving at 15 miles per hour. The system includes water from the Los Angeles River but can also trap gases, making the search risky for rescue teams.

The fire department was assisted by the LAPD, the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks, Park Rangers, the Department of Water and Power and the Department of Sanitation.

  • Tracy Klein