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Teen Survives 13 Hours Inside Sewage Pipe

Teen Survives 13 Hours Inside Sewage Pipe

A 13-year-old boy was found alive this morning after falling through a wooden plank on Sunday and being washed away into a network of drainage pipes in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

The boy, Jesse Hernandez, was located in the pipe system about a mile east of where he fell Sunday during a family Easter celebration at the sprawling urban park between the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood.

Authorities with the Los Angeles Fire Department said he was cold, wet and hungry, but was "alert and talking" after the terrifying ordeal.

"Our Crisis Response Team was deployed to provide support to the family throughout the night as they waited for news of Jesse", Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement after the boy was found. "Thank you to the Hernandez family for your patience and optimism during this harrowing experience".

The pipes, which run parallel the Los Angeles River and cross under freeways, are 4 feet in diameter, the fire department said.

Jesse's family was picnicking nearby as part of its annual Easter tradition before the boy went missing, fire department official said. Authorities searched through the underground system of sewage pipes Los Angeles Police Sgt. Bruno La Hoz described as a "maze". Such cameras are regularly used to inspect pipes for fix.

Jesse was taken to a hospital, although it was unclear whether he was injured.

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Rescuers finally found Jesse after seeing images of handprints on a sewage pipe.

A sanitation official said one of the cameras had showed "some hand markings on the sewer itself - inside - (and) it appears that he was trying to get out".

"The first thing they heard was 'Help!'" said Adel Hagekhalil, assistant general manager of the sanitation department. Twenty of Hernandez's family members remained at the scene. Firefighters were also using gas meters during the hours-long search. The pipe system feeds down to the Los Angeles River and due to water and gasses in the system, the environment would be hard for one to breathe, officials said.

Erik Scott told reporters at 5:41 a.m.

The pipes are four feet in diameter with varying depths of water moving at approximately 15 miles per hour, the department added. The cameras "have more advanced capabilities including lighting and the ability to attach to a pontoon which will crawl along the pipe".

More than 100 LAFD firefighters and park rangers were scrambled.

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