Five boys are safe and sound after they ventured into a New York City storm sewer and found themselves unable to get back out.
The children had crawled into a storm drain on Staten Island’s Clove Lakes Park on Tuesday evening, NBC News reported. But the boys, ages 11 and 12, soon became lost within the maze of dark, damp pipes.
Luckily, at least one of the boys had cell service and was able to place a 911 call.
In a partial recording of the call released by the New York City Fire Department, the dispatcher can be heard asking about the address where the children were located, only to be told they don’t know.
“Yeah, we’re like, we’re stuck in the sewers,” a boy’s voice says.
“We didn’t know exactly where they were, and it took a while to figure out how to find them,” FDNY Chief of Department John Hodges said at a press conference.
“When I spoke to the kids, they were very frantic,” fire alarm dispatcher Marlind Haxhialiu said at the presser. He could ultimately narrow down where they were based on their descriptions of local landmarks. First responders then located the 40-inch storm drain opening where the kids left their jackets and school bags before heading inside.
One firefighter crawled into that opening in pursuit of the children. Others followed the sewer’s path above ground before finding a manhole opening near the children’s location ― about a quarter of a mile from the opening, CNN reported.
Firefighters then followed the sewer’s path above ground before finding a manhole opening near the children’s location ― about a quarter of a mile from the opening, CNN reported. Four of the boys were right beneath the manhole opening, while the fifth was further away with an injured leg, the FDNY wrote on Facebook. The firefighter was able to drop down into the manhole and help all of the children get out.
One of the boys, 12-year-old Kevin Reyes, told Pix 11 that the pipes were “dark” and “really tight,” with “a lot of spiders.”
He added, “We were scared that we would not get out because our legs were numb.”
Kevin told the news outlet that one of the group had first gone into the sewer and became stuck, and the other boys followed to attempt to help him out.
In all, the boys spent about an hour in the pipes.
EMS Chief Luis Basso said all of the kids were taken for evaluation at the local hospital due to being “wet and cold.”