UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island street sweeper who spent eight hours overnight inside a 25-foot deep, debris-filled drywell after falling in has been rescued.
Nassau County police say 50-year-old Joe Hranicka, of Deer Park, fell in the hole in a ShopRite supermarket parking lot on Jerusalem Avenue in Uniondale at 11:40 p.m. A bicyclist called 911 after hearing Hranicka’s screams for help around 6:40 a.m. Tuesday.
“I heard somebody yell, ‘Help me, help me, help me,’ and I looked down there was a guy stuck in the manhole,” the bicyclist, Tim Eareckson, told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports: Police Said The Man Was Unconscious At Some Point
It took rescuers more than an hour to get him out.
Police say Hranicka fell into the hole while removing a piece of plywood in the parking lot, unaware that it was covering the drywell. Police said someone earlier in the day moved the metal grate covering the sewer leaving the hole exposed.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports: A Bicyclist Heard The Calls For Help
“The store owners who manage the property knew about this yesterday,” Lt. Kevin Smith said. “They secured it with a piece of plywood and didn’t want anyone to fall in. The worker, being diligent, moved it that way so he could sweep the area. ”
The sweeping company, Pam Sweeping, said grates were being stolen and sold for scrap metal.
Ken Roy, Hranicka’s boss, told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan that the company came to know that their employee was missing at other locations.
“We got word from the landlord, who told us we had a man in the hole,” Roy said.
Hranicka was taken to Nassau University Medical Center with broken wrists and ribs as well as bruising on his face, police said. The man’s family has hired a lawyer.
“I spoke to him in the emergency room this morning. He was apologizing to me that he wouldn’t be at work the rest of the week,” Roy said.
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