This weekend, an unfortunate 40-year-old homeless man found himself stuck inside a drainpipe just under Interstate 80.
The man had apparently fallen fast asleep and then proceeded to slide into the 12-inch pipe, completely unaware of what was happening. At some point, he woke up to find himself stuck about 4 ft down the drainage pipe!
He screamed as the cars rushed by the traffic-laden overpass until, finally, someone heard his cries. The people who were passing by called the firefighters as soon as they realized what was happening. He had been bellowing for nearly 4 hours.
The Salt Lake City Fire Department rushed to the rescue within minutes of receiving multiple phone calls. Knowing just how severe the situation might be, over 20 firemen hurried to the area and hiked up the overpass to where the pipe was.
Captain A. Davies spoke to the media about the incident, explaining the entire rescue operation.
At first, the firefighters tried to lower a rope so that the man could haul himself up, but to no avail. The man had little strength, and he was trapped tight, too far down to be hauled out by hand. Captain Davies said the firemen had to find a way to break open the pipe he was wedged in and the heavy rescue team was called in. They ended up using a pulley system to get the man safely above ground. It took over an hour to finally extricate the man from his predicament.
While clearly dehydrated, the man had no serious injuries but he was still taken to a hospital to be sure, firefighters say.
It was nothing short of a miracle that he was alive.
The Fire Department tweeted about the rescue, acknowledging that rescues from confined spaces are the toughest ones for the team. But, the Local 81 Firefighters pulled through and saved the unlucky man from a potentially terrible fate. When people are fined in such confined spaces, captain Davies said, it is a rare occurrence when they survive. The lack of oxygen is bad enough, but coupled with toxic gases, the combination is often a deadly one.
The entire department was happy that they made a live rescue that day.