Five Kids Have Been Rescued After Getting Lost In Staten Island’s Sewer System

Published March 27, 2023

The boys entered the sewer while playing at Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island — and were lost for about an hour before they were finally rescued by the New York Fire Department.

Boys Lost In Staten Island Sewers

FDNY New York City Fire Department (FDNY) provides updates regarding the five kids who got lost in the sewers.

Firefighters in New York City just rescued five kids from a sewer after an adventure gone terribly wrong.

The five boys, all between the ages of 11 and 12, were playing at Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island on March 21 when they came across an open storm drain and decided to crawl in. After wandering for about a quarter of a mile, the boys realized that they were lost and decided to call 911.

“We’re like…we’re stuck in the sewers,” one boy said to 911 operators in audio released by FDNY.

“You’re stuck where?” the dispatcher asked.

“In the sewers.”

Following this disturbing call, firefighters were immediately dispatched to the area of the park where they boys said they’d entered the sewers. There, rescue teams found the boys’ abandoned backpacks and jackets at the mouth of a storm drain.

Kids Stuck In Staten Island Sewer

FOX 5The sewer the five kids initially entered in Clove Lakes Park, New York.

Rescuers attempted to enter the sewer, but the tunnel’s 40-inch opening narrowed to about 30 inches further in, making it too small for the rescuers to traverse. So they decided to find another entrance.

To help the rescue team pinpoint their location, the boys described their movements through the sewers while on the phone with a 911 operator.

“Once you went down, were the sewers left, right, straight, where was it? I need you to guide me,” the dispatcher said.

“Right,” one boy responded.

“To the right side. How long did you walk for?”

“We like…yeah, we walked a lot,” the boy said.

Using this information, the rescue team mapped out the path the boys had taken in the sewers and walked to an area above where they estimated the boys might be — and started opening manholes.

Firefighter Enters Sewer

FDNYRescue teams opened manholes to better locate the five kids.

“We walked along the route that we knew the sewer traveled and opened up manhole covers searching for the children,” Chief of Department John Hodgens stated, as reported by CNN.

While the rescuers were searching, the 911 operator instructed the boys to yell and scream as loud as they could to catch their attention.

“Help! Help! Help us!” The boys screamed while on the phone with 911.

Luckily, this strategy proved successful, and rescue teams were able to locate and enter a manhole closest to the boys’ screaming. Wearing breathing masks, rescuers used ropes to lower themselves down into the sewers, and within 30 minutes, they located all five boys.

Following the rescue, emergency medical services examined each boy and transported them to a local hospital. Thankfully none of the kids were seriously injured, though according to TODAY, one boy sustained a minor leg injury.

In total, the boys spent roughly an hour in the sewers, crawling a quarter mile through the dark with only a phone flashlight for guidance.

“They were crawling on their knees for about an hour,” Firefighter John Loennecker said to CNN. “It was dark down there. They had one cell phone light, and that was it.”

One of the boys described the ordeal in an interview with CBS2.

“Me and my friends just went in ’cause we were exploring, and then we went really far in, and then we just forgot where we were,” he said. “It was scary, but, um, we called 911.”

For those involved in the rescue, the outcome was more than satisfying.

“I’m glad everyone was able to work together to rescue these five children,” fire alarm dispatcher Marlind Haxhialiu told CNN.

“All in all, a very successful operation with a happy outcome,” Hodgens said, according to TODAY.

After reading about the five kids who got lost in the Staten Island sewers, learn about the Florida woman Lyndsey Kennedy, who was pulled from a storm drain three times in two years. Then, discover the story of Andre Rand, the “Cropsey” killer who terrorized Staten Island.

Amber Morgan
Amber Morgan is an Editorial Fellow for All That's Interesting. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in political science, history, and Russian. Previously, she worked as a content creator for America House Kyiv, a Ukrainian organization focused on inspiring and engaging youth through cultural exchanges.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Morgan, Amber. "Five Kids Have Been Rescued After Getting Lost In Staten Island’s Sewer System.", March 27, 2023, Accessed June 13, 2024.