Boy Who Fell Into Griffith Park Sewer Pipe Found Alive

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A 13-year-old boy who fell into a sewer pipe during a family Easter celebration at Los Angeles' Griffith Park has been found alive after a methodical 13-hour search of the complex drainage system.
Jesse Hernandez was located in a pipe about a mile east of where he fell Sunday at the sprawling urban park between the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood. The section of pipe near where the 134 Freeway passes underneath the 5 Freeway was wide enough that Jesse could breathe and stand, Los Angeles fire officials said. 
"It does feel like a miracle," LAFD Fire Capt. Erik Scott said. "Mouths dropped when that hatch was opened and we got reports back that Jesse was alive."
Scott said the sanitation workers played a major role in finding Jesse. The workers, part of a team searching 2,400 feet of the system, opened a maintenance hatch to place a closed-circuit camera in the pipe and saw Jesse "alive and talking," Scott said. 
"You can stand in that area," Scott said. "There's space as to where air is able to come through."
Fire-rescue team members provided immediate medical aid and transported the boy to a hospital.
He was given a cell phone so he could speak with his parents, who Scott described as "overwhelmed" with joy. Family members wrapped in blankets stayed at the search command post overnight. 
An "extensive" multi-agency search by air and on the ground continued overnight after Hernandez fell about 25 feet into a drainage system. More than 100 firefighters from the Los Angeles Fire Department were on scene at 5254 West Zoo Dr. in Hollywood around 4:30 p.m. after witnesses reported the fall. 
Hernandez was jumping on a wooden plank atop a concrete building when the plank gave out underneath him, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He then fell into a drainage pipe, which was full of running water. The pipe system feeds down to the Los Angeles River and due to water and gasses in the system, the environment would be difficult for one to breathe, officials said. 
Devin Hernandez described his friend Jesse as "really nice" and said they had earlier been playing soccer together before parting ways so each of their families could do an Easter egg hunt.  
"It's sad that this happens to him because he just came to the park to have fun," he said.
Aerial footage from NewsChopper4 showed search activity at the drainage system in Griffith Park, a nearby water treatment facility and the LA River. 
The Department of Sanitation and LAFD worked closely to map out the closed system of sewage pipes "which requires a detailed search along each possible path of travel," according to the fire department. LAFD's Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces also mounted a specialized camera on a flotation device which was tethered to a rope and extended 300 feet down a pipe. Firefighters were also using gas meters during the hours-long search.  
Shortly after 10 p.m., LAFD announced that specialized "closed circuit" cameras were being brought in to further the search. The cameras "have more advanced capabilities including lighting and the ability to attach to a pontoon which will crawl along the pipe." 

The pipes are four feet in diameter with varying depths of water moving at approximately 15 mph, the department added.  
The fire department was assisted by the LAPD, the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks, Park Rangers, the Department of Water and Power and the Department of Sanitation. 

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