More than 100 city firefighters, with assistance from a number of other agencies, continued their hours-long search Sunday by air and on the ground for a 13-year-old boy who apparently fell into a sewage pipe in Griffith Park, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The incident was reported by a bystander at about 4:30 p.m., fire department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said. The search began at 5254 W. Zoo Dr., she said, near the train museum in Griffith Park.
The pipe in question feeds down to the L.A. River, Stewart said.
The LAFD has been joined in the search for the teen, who has since been identified by the fire department as Jesse Hernandez, by the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles police, Park Rangers the Department of Water and Power and the Department of Sanitation, Stewart continued.
Hernandez and his friends had reportedly climbed a chain-link fence around an abandoned maintenance shack and were playing inside when a plank broke apart, opening up a hole to the drainage pipe, according to ABC7.
LAFD Capt. Erik Scott told reporters the boy reportedly fell about 25 feet into flowing water.
The search also extended down the L.A. River and inside a water reclamation plant in Glendale, CBS2 reported.
The system of sewage pipes is a closed system which required a detailed search on each possible pathway, Stewart said. The LAFD’s Urban Search and Rescue team has utilized gear for these detailed operations.
The team mounted a camera on a flotation device that was tethered to a rope and extended 300 feet down a pipe. Firefighters were also using gas meters to safely conduct the search.
Asked whether the department was sure that Hernandez had fallen into the pipe, Stewart said the LAFD was operating on the reports that came from the scene, which stated that a teen had fallen into a drainage pipe.
The LAFD also tweeted out a request for anyone who knew the whereabouts of Hernandez to call the Los Angeles Police Department’s Northeast Division at (323) 561-3211. Over 20 members of Hernandez’s family were at the scene and the mayor has sent his Crisis Response Team to console and support the family, officials said.
Hernandez had not yet been sighted, but the search would continue, Stewart added.