Los Angeles boy rescued 12 hours after falling into drainage pipe

The boy plunged 25 feet into the network of sewers in the evening of Easter Sunday

The boy plunged 25 feet into the network of sewers in the evening of Easter Sunday

Authorities in Los Angeles are desperately searching the L.A. River and a winding network of drainage pipes after a 13-year-old boy fell through a wooden plank and was washed away.

Crews responded to 5254 W. Zoo Drive, down the road from the Travel Town Museum, around 4:30 p.m., the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Firefighters perform a rescue operation of a boy from a sewage pipe in Los Angeles.

The fire department said in a news release that "from start to finish, this was an unprecedented team effort".

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More than 100 firefighters are involved in the search, which was still going as of 10 p.m. and expected to continue through the night if necessary.

Rescuers finally spotted the boy about 12 hours later after they saw images of handprints on a sewage pipe captured by a camera they had lowered down into the system of mazelike pipes to help the search. The fire department said in a statement the flotation device is similar to a bogey board.

Jesse's family was picnicking nearby as part of its annual Easter tradition before the boy went missing, fire department official said.

As rescuers checked his vitals, crew members handed him a phone to call his mother, who was relieved to hear his voice, Scott said. He was treated at the scene and taken to a hospital for observation.

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Aerial footage from NewsChopper4 showed search activity at the drainage system in Griffith Park, a nearby water treatment facility and the LA River.

LAFD spokesperson Erik Scott told the station the "specialized closed-circuit TV cameras that have lights on them - we place them on pontoons to float through this pipe system". The cameras "have more advanced capabilities including lighting and the ability to attach to a pontoon which will crawl along the pipe". Firefighters were also using gas meters during the hours-long search.

Fire Department spokesman David Ortiz said rescuers couldn't enter the drainage area themselves because of the hazardous environment. The boy was given a cellphone to call his family members, "who, as you can imagine, are overwhelmed with joy", the Los Angeles Fire Department captain said.

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