Los Angeles boy rescued 12 hours after falling into drainage pipe

Authorities launched a frantic search for a 13-year-old boy who witnesses say fell into a drainage ditch in an abandoned maintenance building at Griffith Park

Jesse Hernandez, the 13-year-old Los Angeles kid who fell into the city's labyrinth-like sewer system has been rescued after a perilous night during which officials expressed grave doubts he would survive.

The Los Angeles Times reported Jesse Hernandez was at Griffith Park on Sunday afternoon where he and his cousins were jumping on wooden planks in an abandoned maintenance building.

Los Angeles officials say the pipe where he fell into was wide enough that Jesse could stand.

Scott said the sanitation crews played a major role in finding Jesse. The system includes water from the Los Angeles River but can also trap gases, making the search risky for rescue teams.

Rescuers in Southern California on Monday morning spotted and extricated a boy who was stuck in a maze of drainage pipes for about 12 hours, authorities said.

They narrowed the search area further after noticing the hand markings on the closed-circuit camera feed from inside a pipe. That's where Jesse was found.

"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". He will be decontaminated due to possible toxic substances in the pipes, Scott said.

"The first thing they heard was 'Help!'" said Adel Hagekhalil, assistant general manager of the sanitation department. Fire-rescue team members arrived to provide immediate medical aid and transport him to a hospital.




The mayor's crisis response team had been at the command post overnight and thanked the Hernandez family for its support, patience and optimism.

Firefighters were "also using gas meters and all available equipment to safely conduct this on-going search", the statement said.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman David Ortiz said rescuers couldn't enter the drainage area themselves because of the hazardous environment.

Erik Scott made the announcement at 5:41 a.m.

"The vendor cameras are able to both float at the top of the pipe and crawl along the bottom".

The pipes are four feet in diameter with varying depths of water moving at approximately 15 miles per hour, the department added.

The fire department noted the "excellent teamwork" among agencies - which include fire and its urban search and rescue, police, highway patrol, city recreation and parks, park rangers, the water and power department, and experts from the sanitation, engineering and contract administration bureaus.

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