Frantic search for teen who apparently fell into sewage pipe

Michele Moreno
April 4, 2018

The other children immediately notified adults, who called 911, initiating a frantic and exhaustive 12-hour search of labyrinthine underground pipes using cameras propped on flotation devices.

LAFD Captain Erik Scott said it was a "miracle" Hernandez was found after being trapped in an "intricate, enclosed" sewage pipe system overnight.

"As you can imagine, they were overwhelmed with joy", Scott told KTLA.

The Hernandez family spends a day at Griffith Park as an Easter tradition, according to the Los Angeles Times. The boy was believed to have been playing on an old shack in the late afternoon when boards covering a pipe opening gave way. Hernandez reportedly fell more than 25 feet into the sewer.

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. The environment is "extremely unsafe and toxic", Scott said. Not only did he survive getting swept through sewage moving at 15 miles per hour (24 kph), he managed to find a pocket of breathable air and hang on until he was found, authorities said. Officials with the Department of Sanitation were working to determine if there are any chambers within the pipe system in which Jesse might be stuck.

"Once we opened up one of these hatches to place another camera into, honestly to our surprise we were able to locate Jesse".

About 2,400 feet (731 meters) of pipe had been inspected when rescuers found Jesse less than a mile from where he disappeared.

Rescuers dropped cameras that could float along the bottom of pipes where Hernandez fell.

Rescue operations first responded to 5254 W. Zoo Drive, down the road from the Travel Town Museum at around 4:30 p.m. local time (7:30 p.m. EST) and were expected to stay at the scene for the entire night, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Fire officials said Hernandez was "alive and talking". That's where Jesse was found. Jesse was given immediate medical attention before he was taken to a hospital for a full evaluation, and to be reunited with his family. The department said, "We would like to thank the entire Hernandez family for their patience and optimism".

More than 100 members of the Los Angeles Fire Department and personnel from several agencies assisted in the search.

Other reports by Insurance News

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