Boy Who Went Missing Is Found Alive After Falling 25 Feet Into A Network Of Drainage Pipes

Date April 4, 2018

Easter weekend fun turned into a rescue mission when a 13-year-old boy was washed away in a maze-like system of drainage pipes.

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Jesse Hernandez was playing with his friends in a maintenance shed near Griffith Park when he fell into the drainage system through a pipe which was 4 feet wide. Apparently, he was jumping on top of a wooden plank, which broke under the boy’s weight, and he fell through it.

The drainage flows into the L.A. River through an intricate system of pipes that look like a maze. The pipes are filled with more than 2 feet of sewage that moves at 15 mph.

When the boy went missing, the rescue team was called out. Hundreds of rescuers worked all night to find Jesse. The task wasn’t easy because it was too dangerous to send someone into the mazelike network of pipes beneath the city.

12 hours went by, but the rescuers found nothing. Then, a sanitation crew decided to put a camera into maintenance hatch a mile from the park. That’s how they were able to detect where Jesse was and whether he was still alive.

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The boy went missing near 5254 Zoo Drive in Los Angeles but was found near the intersection of the 134 Freeway and the 5 Freeway, which means that he might have traveled about three-quarters of a mile.

Rescuers managed to pull scared, cold, and hungry Jesse out. He was sent to a hospital for a medical examination.

The structure above the pipe, where Jesse was playing, was withdrawn from service in the 1980s. Despite that, the pipe itself, built in 1965, was active and carrying sewage. The department's investigation of the incident is examining why the building has not been torn down.

Whom to blame for the unfortunate accident that could have had a fatal ending: the boy, who shouldn’t play near old pipes, or the authorities, who should have warned about the dangerous place?

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