Five boys who ventured inside a storm drain on New York’s Staten Island were rescued by firefighters on Wednesday, March 22, after calling 911 and telling the operator they were “stuck in the sewers.”
The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) said the boys, aged 11 to 12, according to local media, had traveled about a quarter-mile through subterranean sewers after entering a tunnel at Clove Lakes Park, close to Staten Island Zoo, when they called for help.
In 911 audio released by the FDNY, one of the boys tells a dispatcher, Moises Arias, that they weren’t sure where they were. Another boy says, “It’s like a tunnel where all the pipes are.”
A fellow dispatcher, Marlind Haxhialiu, who was familiar with the area, began asking the boys about local landmarks to determine where they had entered the sewer system and which direction they took inside it.
Haxhialiu narrowed down the location to Clove Lakes Park, where crews found the children’s belongings at a tunnel entrance. One firefighter entered the tunnel through that entrance, while other firefighters opened manhole covers around the area. Over the phone, Haxhialiu instructed the boys to yell out to make it easier for rescuers to find them.
The FDNY said a member from Ladder 79 “opened a manhole and found four of the children” and located the fifth boy “further down the line with an injured leg.”
A firefighter climbed down through a manhole and helped all five children out, the fire department said.
FDNY Deputy Chief Joe Harris lauded the combined efforts of dispatchers, firefighters, EMS personnel, and police in bringing the boys to safety.
“I’m glad everyone was able to work together to rescue these five children,” he said. Credit: FDNY via Storyful