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Teen trapped in sewer during flash flood survives

1:48 PM, Sep 9, 2012   |    comments
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By Natalie DiBlasio,

USA TODAY
A 14-year-old boy is out of the hospital after surviving a wild ride through a storm drain during a flash flood in Parma, Ohio.


Jeffrey LaPorta was riding his bike with a friend through puddles when he fell into an overflowing creek, was sucked into a storm drain and became trapped in the sewer on Tuesday, the Detroit Free Press reports.

"It was scary. I didn't know what to do," Jeffrey says. "I didn't want to panic, because if I panicked I would have probably died. I am very lucky to be alive."

Swooped up by rushing water, Jeffrey was forced more than a quarter-mile through multiple storm sewer pipes, at times completely submerged, before finding enough breathing room to wait for rescuers, the Associated Press reports.

"It was dark, it was scary, it was nasty," Jeffrey says. "It was like somebody is putting you in a big whirlpool and spinning you around and getting your head knocked on the ground."

As emergency crews got to the scene, they started taking off sewer lids, yelling into the sewers waiting for a sign of Jeffrey.

He was out of the sewer 43 minutes after authorities got the call.

"The water was moving so quickly it sucked him into the drain," said Doug Turner, a Parma Fire Department spokesman. "It sucked him in and pulled him probably 100 yards, full of water, where he couldn't take his breath."

Jeffrey was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he received six stitches and was treated for scrapes and bruises, WFMY reports. The TV station originally reported his age as 13.

"It's a miracle that the kid was even alive, let alone hardly hurt at all," Turner said.

USA TODAY

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