Boy Falls 25 Feet, Trapped in Pipe Begging for Help. Firefighters Spend 12 Hours Looking for Body


Easter Sunday is normally seen as a happy, family-centric holiday. Many people across the country went to church, shared a meal with family and friends, or even went on an egg hunt.

For the Hernandez family, it was not much different. The family was enjoying Easter festivities until things took a scary turn.

Thirteen-year-old Jesse Hernandez was playing with some of his relatives in an abandoned maintenance building near Griffith Park in Los Angeles. He was walking on a wooden plank when it broke and he fell into the sewer pipe system.

It took first responders 12 hours, but they were able to successfully rescue him alive … three-quarters of a mile from where he originally fell!

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Jesse fell 25 feet down into a sewage pipe that runs parallel to the Los Angeles River. A statement released by the Los Angeles Fire Department states that the pipes were 4 feet wide and filled with liquid moving at about 15 mph.

Not only was the search difficult because the maze of pipes covered so many feet, but it was also a race against the clock because there were hazardous materials and gasses in them.

Experts analyzed a map of the pipe system to find places where he may have been caught. Rescue teams were sent out to search these areas.

Fire Captain Erik Scott told Inside Edition, “What we did was then work to get some sophisticated cameras in these pipes that can crawl on the bottom, float on the top…”

Would you call this a miracle?

These cameras are normally used to look for areas that need repair, but the Fire Department’s quick thinking turned them into a vital tool for Jesse’s rescue.

The teams strategically searched around 2,400 feet of pipes while a man-hole cover located next to a busy intersection was removed to insert even more cameras.

When the first responders looked down, they saw Jesse! He had been standing there for a long time.

In an interview, Jesse said that he noticed the pipes closing in and getting smaller. That’s when he quickly decided to stand up.

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When he looked up, he saw small holes of light so he decided to stay in that spot yelling and whistling when he heard noises from up above. “I was thinking like ‘I’m gonna die’ and that I wasn’t going to see my parents,” the teen said.

Once Jesse was rescued from the sewage pipe, someone gave him a cellphone so he could call his parents to let them know he was okay. On-site medical teams then cleaned the hazardous materials off of him, inspected him for major injuries, and took him to the hospital.

Thankfully Jesse only walked away with minor scrapes and bruises. He returned to school on Wednesday!

In response to everyone who prayed for his safe return, Jesse said, “I’m fine. And thank you for your prayers.”

Jesse rescue wouldn’t have been as successful without the bravery and quick thinking of the first responders who were there that day. His family is beyond thankful for the work that they put in to bring him back home safely.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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