Missing Boy Who Fell Into Los Angeles Sewer System Found Alive

Published April 2, 2018
Published April 2, 2018

It took over 100 firefighters and stealthy sanitation workers to find a boy who went missing after he fell through a piece of wood.


NY Daily News13-year-old Jesse Hernandez

At around 4:30 p.m on April 1, 2018, 13-year-old Jesse Hernandez went missing in Los Angeles after falling through a piece of wood near Griffith Park, an urban park between the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood. The area Hernadez was in was a decommissioned city sanitation facility and had been fenced off, according to authorities. He was jumping on the wooden plank above a concrete building when the plank gave out underneath him.

After an extensive 12 hour search with over 100 participating firefighters, he was found alive in a drain pipe inside the city’s sewer system. Hernandez was found less than a mile from where he had been playing.

“Sanitation workers were an absolutely instrumental part of this successful outcome,” said a spokesperson for LAFD. The sanitation workers were able to identify a 6,400-foot area of sewer line where Hernandez was most likely to be found.

By lowering surveillance cameras into the pipes, they were able to narrow down the area even further. The closed-circuit cameras, placed on each side of the search area, picked up handprints on the walls of the pipes. The workers then opened up a maintenance hatch and were able to locate him 11 feet down, an area large enough for Hernandez to breathe and stand in.

The first thing the rescue team heard him say was, “Help!” Workers lowered a hose down and pulled Hernandez up to safety where family members wrapped in blankets had been waiting throughout the night.

“It does feel like a miracle,” said LAFD Fire Captain, Erik Scott. “Mouths dropped when that hatch was opened and we got reports back that Jesse was alive.”

Hernandez was conscious when he was found but still brought to the hospital for inspection. β€œHe’s also going to undergo decontamination in addition to additional medical aid,” the fire spokesman said.

Next you can read about skier who went missing in New York and turned up still wearing his ski outfit in California. Then read about explorer who went missing after searching for a “headhunter” tribe in Papua New Guinea

Kara Goldfarb
Kara Goldfarb is a writer living in New York City.