Los Angeles (AFP) – A 13-year-old boy has been rescued after spending 12 hours trapped in a maze of sewer tunnels in Los Angeles.
“I was just praying to God to help me and to not die,” Jesse Hernandez told NBC News. “You could just hear the water running through. You couldn’t see anything.”
Jesse was on an Easter Sunday outing with his family at Griffith Park, one of the largest urban parks in the United States, when he and his cousins went to explore an abandoned building, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The boys were jumping on wooden boards when a plank broke, sending Jesse plunging 25 feet (eight meters) down a sewer pipe around 4:30 pm, the newspaper said.
A massive rescue effort was launched involving more than 100 firefighters, police and sanitation workers.
At 4:00 am Monday morning, sanitation workers lifted up a manhole cover and found Jesse looking up at them, the Times said.
He had traveled about two-thirds of a mile (over one kilometer) from where he fell into the sewer.
“This young man rose like Jesus,” Bryant Jones, a city sanitation manager, was quoted as saying by the Times.
Jesse was taken to hospital, decontaminated and released.