Firefighters searching LA River near Griffith Park for boy who fell in


He was taken to a hospital for a full evaluation and to be reunited with his family. Hernandez was found in a maintenance hatch at about 5:30 a.m. local time, almost half a day after falling down a drainage pipe in nearby Griffith Park.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman David Ortiz said rescuers couldn't enter the drainage area themselves because of the hazardous environment. They had reportedly climbed a chain-link fence and were investigating an old maintenance shed when a plank on which Jesse was standing broke and he fell about 25 feet into a sewer pipe. "We located Jesse Hernandez alive and talking", fire Capt. Erik Scott announced before dawn.

Rescuers used cameras mounted to flotation devices, similar to boogie-boards, and tethered to 300-foot lines to search storm drains along each possible path of travel for the 13-year-old, reported KABC.

Cameras used to inspect pipes for fix were used to float at the top of the pipe and crawl along the bottom, Scott said. Not only did he survive getting swept through sewage moving at 15 miles per hour (24 kph), he managed to find a pocket of breathable air and hang on until he was found, authorities said.

The network of pipes are parallel to the Los Angeles River and cross under freeways.

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The LAFD was joined in the search for the teen by the Los Angeles Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, Park Rangers, the Department of Water and Power and the Bureau of Sanitation. About 2,400 feet of pipe had been thoroughly inspected and the search was continuing when a maintenance hatch under Interstate 5 was opened to insert cameras.

"The first thing they heard was 'Help,"' said Adel Hagekhalil, assistant general manager of the city's sanitation department. "They were thrilled. Right away they saw Jesse about 11 feet into this structure (which) is 11 feet deep and 42 inches in diameter".

The boy was immediately given a mobile phone to call his family to tell them he was safe, officials said, adding that at least 20 of his family members were present for search efforts on Sunday night.

"From start to finish, this was an unprecedented team effort", the fire department said.