Boy, 13, found in a LA sewer pipe, 12 hours after disappearing

Cheryl Kahla
Apr 03, 2018
11:45 A.M.
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A 13-year-old teenager was trapped for more than 12 hours in the Los Angeles sewers. He was rescued after a frantic search. 


Jessie Hernandez was enjoying a trip to the park with his family over the Easter weekend when he fell through the roof of a concrete building and into a drainage pipe. 

As reported by CBS News, more than a 100 rescue responders worked around the clock to track him down in the massive sewer system and bring him to safety. 

He was rescued in the early morning hours on April 2, 2018, after maps of the sewer were studied. A camera was used to inspect the pipe system which stretched 6,400 feet.  


Police officials, the fire department, sanation crews and residents pulled together to search for Hernandez. The park is a popular destination among locals.

More than 20 families were out celebrating Easter and members the community consoled the family while the search mission was underway. 

The first leg of the mission spanned more than 2,400 feet and Hernandez was located when a hatch was opened to continue the search in another section of the sewer system.  


Rescue workers explained that specialized close circuit TV cameras fitted with lights were used. The cameras were placed "on pontoons to float through [the] pipe system."

The teams used everything at their disposal to search the area, including gas meters to ensure their safety. The cameras were used for areas considered too hazardous to enter. 


A breakthrough was made when handprints were seen along the side of a pipe. The sewer is filled with rushing water, debris and toxic gas, and the rescue was described as a miracle.

Hernandez is glad to be reunited with family. When asked what was going through his mind, the teenager said he was scared of dying. 

He thought that he was never going to see his parents again. The first thing he asked for was a cell phone because he wanted to personally assure his mother that he was safe.