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Bay Area Man Rescued from Underground Storm Pipe After 2 Days in Darkness

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A series of desperate screams were heard underfoot in Antioch last weekend, prompting concerned passerby to call 911. 

On Sunday, March 20, 50 firefighters, police officers, and rescue personnel were called to the site of a 16-inch (40-centimeter) storm pipe, no bigger than the “width of a large pizza.” 

Inside, 15 feet below ground-level, they discovered a man in his mid-30s. He had been trapped underground for two days. 

A team of 50 rescued a man from a storm pipe in Antioch, California. (Contra Costa County Fire Protection District/Handout)

The “complex and risky” rescue operation took three and a half hours to complete, according to the Contra Costa County Fire Department. 

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokesperson Steve Hill detailed the operation, which required the rescue team to enter the storm pipe from two access points on opposite ends. Debris was cleared along the way in order to rescue the trapped man. 

“As an all-risk fire agency, we train for rare rescues such as this,” said Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Chief Lewis Broschard. “Still, this was a complex and high risk rescue effort that required extensive specialized resources and the skill and experience of many professionals from across the District to successfully complete.”

(Courtesy Contra Costa County Fire Protection District)

“When we finally got him out of the ground, he was beyond exuberant. He was beyond happy to be above ground,” Hill told the San Francisco Chronicle

Following his rescue, the man was taken to the nearest hospital for evaluation. 

Curiously, Hill reported that the man had entered the storm water system intentionally. The man’s exact intentions, however, were not disclosed. His point of entry has also not been determined. 

Some questions are better left unasked.

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Lydia Sviatoslavsky

Lydia Sviatoslavsky

Lydia Sviatoslavsky covers culture and curiosities for Bay City News and Broke-Ass Stuart. She publishes artist interviews and experimental writing at thought-rot.net. You can find her on Instagram at @rot_thought.

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