Boy Survives After Falling Into Drainage Pipe At LA Park

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

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A 13-year-old boy who fell into an underground system of sewage pipes Sunday was found alive despite the toxic environment he encountered, an official said Monday.

Hernandez is receiving "decontamination", medical aid and was being taken to a local hospital, according to LAFD. Information on his condition was not immediately released.

Searchers doggedly inspecting a complex drainage system network found Jesse Hernandez, 13, at a Burbank location around dawn. "We're keeping Jesse's health and recovery in our thoughts today".

More than 100 firefighters participated in the search, along with park rangers and personnel from the Los Angeles Police Department, Department of Water and Power, and the California Highway Patrol.

Rescuers searched for more than 12 hours after Hernandez fell about 25 feet into a 4-foot diameter pipe while playing on top of a Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation structure in Griffith Park on Sunday.

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Fire department officials said the boy and several friends had climbed over a chain-link fence and went into an abandoned shed on the property, close to where the family was having a picnic, when the boards broke.

Authorities said Jesse fell into the sewage system that has numerous pipes leading to the Los Angeles River. The cameras "have more advanced capabilities including lighting and the ability to attach to a pontoon which will crawl along the pipe".

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.

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

His cousins called out to him, the Los Angeles Times reported, but all they heard were the echoes of their own voices.

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"The expertise of the Bureau of Sanitation was instrumental in this search", Stewart said. "This was were Jesse was found alert and talking".

"It appears he was trying to get out", said LA Sanitation Department Assistant Director Adel Hagekhalil.

Scott said crews were extremely concerned that Jesse wouldn't be found safe due to the fall and the hazardous material inside the pipes.

"Right away they lowered the hose ... and said, 'Hold on.' He held on and they reeled him up", he added. "He was sat down on the floor and the first thing he wanted was a cellphone to call his family".

The boy was given a cellphone to contact his parents after being pulled from the pipe. "He was happy; the family was happy ..."

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