LOS ANGELES (CBSNewYork) — A California teenager trapped for 13-hours in the Los Angeles sewer system is calling his rescue a miracle.
“I was thinking like, I’m gonna die, and I’m never gonna see my friends again,” said survivor Jesse Hernandez when describing being inside a pitch black sewer pipe with raw sewage flowing on and around him.
Jesse was with his family Sunday at a picnic in Griffith Park when he and his cousins crossed Zoo Drive and hopped a fence. They ended up on the roof of a decommissioned sanitation building where the group started jumping on a piece of plywood.
“I was playing and I didn’t see that it was a little piece of wood, and I stepped on it and I just fell down and the current took me,” he said.
Jesse had plunged through the shaft underneath down into the sewer system. The untreated sewage water hit him immediately.
“I stopped myself because the little tunnel started getting smaller, so I just stood up fast,” he said. “There was this bridge circle thing, and I just went up… When I heard noises I was screaming and whistling loud.”
Incredibly Jesse thought to have put handprints on the sewer walls to help rescuers track him.
Sanitation workers would find him about three-quarters of a mile from where he fell in.
For Jesse’s family, 13 hours was like an eternity, ended finally by a phone call from the youth.
“I’m like, mom, I’m alive, come pick me up,” he said.
Hernandez was taken to the hospital and treated for scratches and bruises, and released a few hours later.