Child Found Alive in L.A. Sewer System 12 Hours After He Fell Down Drainage Pipe

A child who had been missing for at least half a day after falling into a dangerous part of the Los Angeles drainage system was found alive early Monday morning, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

"A tremendous team effort over the past 12 hours resulted in the best outcome: Jesse Hernandez was found alive this morning," the LAFD said in a statement.

A Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman said Jesse Hernandez, 13, was found "alive and talking," according to Los Angeles news station KABC. Hernandez was discovered in a maintenance hatch at about 5:30 a.m. local time, nearly half a day after falling down a drainage pipe in nearby Griffith Park.

"It's with happy hearts that all Los Angeles city agencies are able to state that we have found Jesse Hernandez," LAFD spokesman Captain Erik Scott said, according to KCAL. The boy was immediately given a phone to call his parents. He was then evaluated at the scene and taken to a local hospital for further examination, according to the LAFD statement.

The Los Angeles Fire Department did not respond to Newsweek's request for further comment in time for publication.

Local officials rushed to search for Hernandez on Sunday. They said Hernandez and his friends had scaled a chain-link fence and were playing by an abandoned maintenance building, according to KABC. Hernandez was jumping on a wooden plank when the plank gave way, and he fell some 25 feet down a drainage pipe full of running water, according to KNBC. Officials tracked multiple paths Hernandez could have taken upon falling and worried that the gases and water in the drainage system would make it hard for the boy to breathe, reported KNBC. The LAFD said in its statement that officials looked through some 2,400 feet of pipe for the child. Monday morning they chanced upon Hernandez, who seemed to be doing well.

"As part of this systematic search, the Bureau of Sanitation was opening a maintenance hatch to place a camera into there, and that's where we located Jesse Hernandez alive and talking," Scott said via KCAL.