US

Crews rescue man stuck in open field pizza-sized storm drain for two days

Antioch, California – – A man who was trapped 15 feet underground for two days in a San Francisco Bay storm pipe the width of a large pizza has been rescued in an effort that lasted hours and involved at least 50 firefighters, police and rescue workers, officials said Monday.

Authorities released the man from the 16-inch hose around 9:30 p.m. Sunday in Antioch, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokesman Steve Hill said.

“When we finally got him off the ground, he was more than exuberant. He was more than happy to be off the ground,” Hill said.

It was a risky and complex operation in an open field, reports CBS San Francisco.

The man, in his 30s, was uninjured but showed signs of dehydration and was taken to hospital for evaluation, Hill said.

The man from the storm drain saved
In this image provided by the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, emergency personnel work to rescue a man from an underground storm water main in Antioch, Calif., March 20, 2022.

Steve Hill/Contra Costa County Fire Protection District via AP


Hill said the man intentionally entered the extensive stormwater system and at some point reached the area of ​​the narrow pipe and got stuck.

“He couldn’t pass and he couldn’t go back,” he said.

The man told authorities he was trapped for about two days before bystanders heard his screams and called 911.

“Somehow people walking by on a footpath some distance from the storm water system managed to hear his cries for help. It’s quite miraculous because there was a lot windy there,” Hill said.

The man from the storm drain saved
In this image provided by the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, emergency personnel work to rescue a man from an underground storm water main in Antioch, Calif., March 20, 2022.

Steve Hill/Contra Costa County Fire Protection District via AP


But, he added, “not only is the victim in danger when stuck, but any rescuers you put underground are also in danger.”

Hill said the operation involved four firefighters with their own air supply entering the underground space from one direction while other rescuers dug a second access from the opposite side. They had to clear tree branches, trash and other debris to reach the man, who was able to communicate with authorities the entire time.

He said the man was responsive and able to talk to emergency crews, according to CBS San Francisco.

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