Boy who fell down sewer pipe speaks out: ‘I was thinking, I’m gonna die’

first_imgLos Angeles Fire Department (LAFD)(LOS ANGELES) — A 13-year-old boy who was rescued after spending 13 hours trapped in a network of sewage pipes in Los Angeles said Monday he thought he was going to die.Jesse Hernandez was picnicking with his family as part of an annual Easter tradition on Sunday when he and his cousins climbed a fence and reached an abandoned building.Jesse fell about 25 feet into the sewer pipe, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.The pipes, which run parallel the Los Angeles River and cross under freeways, are 4 feet in diameter. They are filled with two feet or more of sewage that moves at 15 mph, officials said.Jesse, who had dropped his phone, said he was screaming and whistling loudly.“I was thinking, like, I’m gonna die,” he said.The fire department, working with the Bureau of Sanitation, pinpointed the search area to a one-mile radius, and intelligence then narrowed the search down to a 6,400-foot section of pipe, LAFD Capt. Erik Scott told ABC News.Cameras used to inspect pipes for repair were employed as part of the rescue effort, the fire department said.“One of the cameras saw some handprints on the sewer inside the pipe,” Adel Hagekhalil of the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation told ABC News. “The first thing they hear is, ‘Help.’”Rescuers opened the maintenance hatch and spotted Jesse, who was taken to a local hospital and later released.Scott said it appears Jesse traveled about three-quarters of a mile. He was found near the intersection of the 134 Freeway and the 5 Freeway.Scott called it a “miracle” that Jesse survived.“We maintained hope, we maintained intensity and we did not give up,” Scott said. “But I’ll be honest, we did not think we would find a viable patient.”After word spread that Jesse had been found, Scott said he has never seen so many men hold back their tears and embrace each other.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img

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