CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A 90-year-old man was rescued after falling into a storm drain on Long Island.
The incident happened around 1:15 p.m. Saturday.
Police say the man fell 10 feet down the drain outside an apartment complex on Medea Way in Central Islip.
Resident Charles Marshall told CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon he believes the sewer cover gave away.
“It makes no sense. How does a metal grate collapse?” he said.
Marshall was going for his daily walk in the Islip Landing community when he noticed his elderly neighbor’s car parked unusually.
“It was running, the driver’s door was open, but there was no sign of him,” Marshall said. “The grate covering the sewer drain was missing right outside his door. Common sense had to dictate he came out of his car and fell right down there.”
Concerned, he called out for his neighbor.
“I called him and he answered. And I said, ‘Can you breathe? Did you break an arm? Did you break a leg?’ And he said, in a weak voice, ‘I’m OK, but I hit my head,'” Marshall said.
Neighbors called 911. Emergency crews spent more than an hour getting the elderly man out.
“There’s a lot of peace of mind knowing that the response can be that quick,” Marshall said.
The 90-year-old victim was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Neighbors say he has lived alone in the community since his wife died this summer, but he does have family that supports him.
“He is a gentleman beyond description,” Marshall said. “Prince of a guy. So we’ve all got our fingers crossed that this story will have a happy ending.”
“It could happen to any of us. You see, everybody, all of us walk our dogs all the time, so it’s concerning,” a neighbor named Cathy said.
It’s unclear who is responsible for maintaining the storm sewer, but residents say they’ve reached out to their Homeowners Association, asking they test all the storm drains in the area so this never happens again.
Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.
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