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Boy rescued after 12 hours trapped in sewer

Jesse Hernandez had been playing in Griffith Park when he fell 25ft into fast-moving sewage on Easter Sunday, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

A frantic 12-hour search of the underground pipes was launched using cameras propped on flotation devices before rescuers spotted images of handprints.

The LA sewer system, where a young boy remained for hours until being rescued

Video:Sewercam revealed Jesse’s handprints

Emergency workers rushed to the scene and opened a manhole cover when they heard a cry of “help”, officials said.

Boy rescued after 12 hours trapped in sewer
Boy rescued after 12 hours trapped in sewer

Jesse, who was 11ft deep in the pipe, was pulled to safety, hosed down and given immediate medical attention, the fire department said.

Authorities called his survival “miraculous” and said he had managed to find a pocket of breathable air while trapped.

Jesse Hernandez, 13, has been rescued in Los Angeles after getting trapped for 12 hours in the city's sewer system. Pic: ABC
Image:Jesse fell 25ft into the sewer. Pic: ABC

Fire department spokesman Brian Humphrey said: “Any subterranean location, particularly one that involves waste, can produce toxic gases – methane, hydrogen sulfide – so breathable air is a key element.

“The odds of someone falling into such a pipe and surviving are slim. The odds were not in his favour, and many would call it miraculous.”

After his rescue, Jesse told KNBC-TV: “I was praying to God to help me and to not die.

A 13-year-old boy has been rescued in Los Angeles after getting trapped for 12 hours in the city's sewer system. Pic: ABC
Image:Rescuers used cameras in the sewage pipes to locate Jesse. Pic: ABC

“It was all quiet. You could just hear the water running through and you couldn’t see anything. It was dark.”

About 2,400ft of pipe had been inspected when rescuers found Jesse less than a mile from where he disappeared.

He was taken to a hospital for a full evaluation and was reunited with his family.

Mr Humphrey called Jesse “a resolute young man.”

“He has tremendous inner strength,” he added. “It’s obvious he’s not a quitter.”

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