SoCal Teen Who Fell Into Sewage Pipe Rescued After Frantic Search

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More than 100 rescuers worked through the night to try to find the 13-year-old - a task made more hard because, they say, it was too unsafe to send a searcher into the mazelike network of pipes beneath the city. The boys were playing in a maintenance shed above a ditch that feeds into the Los Angeles River, FOX11 LA reported.

LAFD announces missing boy found "alive and talking" He was discovered "where the 134 westbound freeway goes underneath the 5 Freeway" as L.A. Sanitation officials were opening a maintenance hatch to deploy a camera as part of the search, Scott said.

Not only did he survive getting swept through sewage moving at 24 kilometres per hour, he managed to find a pocket of breathable air and hang on until he was found, authorities said.

The boy was given a cellphone to contact his parents after being pulled from the pipe.

'One was jumping on top of a wooden plank, perhaps not knowing that it led into a drainage pipe, ' he said.

A plank broke and Jesse fell about eight metres and landed in fast-moving sewage, said Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department. The area, a decommissioned LA city sanitation facility, was fenced off, authorities said. "As you can imagine, we are overwhelmed with joy". He was treated at the scene and taken to a hospital for observation. When a plank underneath him broke, he plummeted into toxic water that was flowing at about 15 miles per hour.

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"That place is a maze", Hoz said. The cameras "have more advanced capabilities including lighting and the ability to attach to a pontoon which will crawl along the pipe".

Rescuers finally spotted the boy about 12 hours later after they saw images of handprints on a sewage pipe captured by a camera they had lowered down into the system of mazelike pipes to help the search. The fire department said in a statement the flotation device is similar to a bogey board. Rescuers fanned out to sites where the sewage system drains and searched chambers where Jesse may have gotten trapped.

"We witnessed an incredible team effort by many public safety agencies", the Los Angeles Police Department tweeted after the boy was located.

Television news footage showed dozens of firefighters in climbing gear and helmets standing over a hole in the ground, the whole area brightened by floodlights.

"He's too young. It's just insane".

Dominique Barraza, 16, a family friend, said she and other family members attempted to call the 13-year-old. Monday morning they chanced upon Hernandez, seemingly doing well.