Was it divine intervention, a triumph of the human spirit, state-of-the-art technology — or a combination of all three? This is the question in the aftermath of the miraculous rescue of a 13-year-old boy who recently plunged into a morass of sewage in a tangle of underground piping in Los Angeles.
On Easter Sunday, young Jesse Hernandez slipped through the flooring of an abandoned building and fell 25 feet, landing inside the city’s toxic and maze-like sewer system, as reported by USA Today and other media outlets.
The city of Los Angeles launched a massive rescue effort for the teen, the Associated Press noted. Experts from the sanitation department, the fire department, the city police, the state highway patrol, the Department of Water and Power, the city’s recreation and parks department and park rangers were all involved.
Incomprehensibly, experts identified 6,400 feet of piping where the boy could have been lodged — and started analyzing and identifying likely location areas, according to NPR.
Rescuers also deployed video cameras.
Eventually, after seeing smeared handprints and what looked like a shoulder, sanitation crews hurried to the area to open a manhole.
Adel Hagekhalil, assistant general manager of the sanitation department, said the crew lowered a hose down to the boy — who was about 10 feet deep in the pipe.
Then they reeled him back up, according to “Today.”
The frantic 12-hour search began after children who were playing with Hernandez in a park sounded the alarm of the boy’s horrifying fall.
“I was just praying to God to help me to not die,” Jesse Hernandez told “Today.”
He emerged cold, hungry and tired, but his prayers were answered. This is one Easter miracle he’ll never forget.
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.
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