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Worker Swept Through Sewer Drain Found Alive

Kansas City Star via YellowBrix

October 12, 2010

RAYMORE, MO – A contract worker examining a Raymore sewer drain was swept through the 24-inch pipe this morning — then found alive about 90 minutes later after traveling more than a mile through the system.

A city worker and firefighters heard the 27-year-old man scream for help, popped open a manhole and found him about 9:30 a.m., curled up in a fetal position at the bottom of a 12-foot-deep chamber.

Rescue workers called in an air ambulance to take the critically injured man to a hospital. They loaded him into the helicopter about 10 a.m., nearly two hours after he vanished into the sewer in the 600 block of West Foxwood Drive.

He was suffering from hypothermia, and he may have ingested sewage, said South Metropolitan Fire District Chief Randy Adams.

The 5-foot-8, 127-pound man was wearing a safety harness. It was unclear he got swept into the sanitary sewer system. Other workers saw it happen at 8:05 a.m. and called for help. Rescuers asked the city to shut down water pumps while they searched the system.

The South Metropolitan Fire District called in help from the Kansas City Fire Department, which sent multiple crews. Raymore city workers also responded.

Rescuers using city maps of the sewer system began searching the area, removing manhole covers as they worked their way north and south from where the man vanished.

Three rescuers heard his cries while searching near a lake at the Creekmoor Golf Course in northern Raymore. Rescuers lowered a firefighter into the sewer chamber to get the man out.

Firefighters covered him with multiple coats while waiting on the medical helicopter.

The man, who lives in the Lake of the Ozarks area, works for Rosetta Construction of Springfield, Mo., authorities said.