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Boy, 13, found alive after falling into Los Angeles drainage ditch 'maze'
03 April 2018, 04:12 | Floyd Cook
'Miraculous': Teen survives 12 hours in Los Angeles sewers
The teenager had been celebrating Easter with family at Griffith Park in Los Angeles when he fell into the drain and was swept into the series of interconnecting sewage pipes.
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. "It's with happy hearts that all Los Angeles city agencies are able to state that we have found Jesse Hernandez", fire Capt. Erik Scott said near the original scene Monday morning.
Firefighters perform a rescue operation of a boy from a sewage pipe in Los Angeles.
"This was where Jesse was found alert and talking", Scott said.
Crews analyzed the pipe system to determine any likely "catch areas" and used multiple cameras inside the pipes as part of the lengthy search effort. Such cameras are regularly used to inspect pipes for fix.
The section of pipe near where Jesse was found was so wide the teen could stand up, Scott said.
"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 was "Help", said Adel Hagekhalil, assistant general manager of the sanitation department.
Jesse was taken to a hospital to be evaluated, the fire department said.
The mayor's crisis response team had been at the command post overnight and thanked the Hernandez family for its support, patience and optimism. The area, a decommissioned LA city sanitation facility, was fenced off, authorities said.
Officials studied maps of the closed sewage pipe system, which stretches hundreds of feet, and sent a camera attached to a flotation device 300 feet down a pipe.
Firefighters were "also using gas meters and all available equipment to safely conduct this on-going search", the statement said. A "relentless" search by fire department personnel, Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol and crews from the Bureaus of Sanitation, Engineering and Contract Administration were all involved in the search of more than 6,000 feet of tunnels.
Cameras used to inspect pipes for fix were used to float at the top of the pipe and crawl along the bottom, Scott said.
Throughout the system, pipes are filled with varying depths of water moving at 15 miles per hour.
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