Man rescued from storm drain may have been trapped for 2 days

A man who was rescued from a storm drain in Antioch Sunday may have been trapped for two days.

This happened in Antioch Sunday in an area of undeveloped land behind the Grocery Outlet on Buchanan Road.

Jamie Linsey said he was walking to the store when he heard shouting coming from a storm drain. Linsey said, "The noise started getting louder and louder. I heard him screaming for help and he asked me to help him. I ended up calling police."

When firefighters arrived, they opened a utility hole and determine someone was trapped about 15 feet underground.

"We did hear some cries for help. We then upgraded to a full confined space heavy rescue response," said Battalion Chief Bob Atlas with the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. Firefighters say these types of rescues are high-risk and rare and involve rescuers who are specially trained.

Emergency crews set up two rescue points. On one side, a backhoe was ready to dig, in case it was needed to break open the pipe. On the other side, four firefighters entered the hole, hooked up to oxygen. They found the pipe was clogged with debris - everything from garbage to tree branches.

Steve Hill with the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District said, "It turns out he had crawled some fairly long distance through a very small storm water drain pipe, had gotten to a point where that pipe was blocked with debris, couldn’t go forward but also couldn’t go back because he was pretty much stuck."

Firefighters spent about an hour clearing the debris. They finally reached the man, stuck in a section of pipe about 16 inches in diameter

Hill said, "He was in a pipe that some people describe to me as being the diameter of a large pizza."

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Just before 9 p.m., the man was pulled to the surface He was put on a stretcher and taken away in an ambulance. Firefighters say he did not appear to have any visible injuries and they don’t know why he went down there in the first place.

"Those places are not created for human occupation. They are not safe," said Hill.