Entries in Sewer (2)


Ohio Teen’s Harrowing Journey into Storm Drain

ABC News(PARMA, Ohio) -- A 14-year-old boy from Ohio says he is lucky to be alive after he was swallowed up by a sewer drain pipe and carried 1,500 feet by rising waters.

Jeff LaPorta suffered scrapes and bruises on his legs and received six stitches in his arm, but that only tells a part of his harrowing tale.

LaPorta was enjoying the last days of summer like any other kid, riding his bike with a friend in Parma, Ohio, on Tuesday during a heavy rain storm.  He was riding through a parking lot when Mother Nature pulled a trick on him.

“There were big puddles and I was splashing through them and stuff having fun,” LaPorta recalled.

What LaPorta thought was a shallow puddle was actually a deep creek swollen with rain water.  Within seconds, he fell into the creek and was carried away into a drain pipe.

“It was dark, it was scary, it was nasty,” LaPorta said.  “It was like somebody is putting you in a big whirlpool and spinning you around and getting your head knocked on the ground.”

The rushing water sucked LaPorta into the pipe, and carried him 1,500 feet from the entrance.  Along the way, the teen was gasping for air as the water rose over his head.

“…After I took that deep breath I just stayed, and I was not going to give up,” he said.

LaPorta’s friend, Miguel Torres, immediately flagged down help, unsure what just happened to his friend.

“I started thinking the worst,” recalled Torres.

The fire department arrived on the scene and searched manhole cover after manhole cover looking for LaPorta.  After about 40 minutes of searching, the firefighters heard a scream.  LaPorta was pulled out of a manhole cover across the street from a gas station parking lot.

“They lifted the manhole cover and I said, ‘Hey buddy, you alright down there?’” said Parma firefighter David Higginbotham.  “And he was crying.  He was terrified.”

Afraid he’d never make it out alive, LaPorta couldn’t believe the moment he saw the firefighters’ flashlight.

“In my head I’m like, ‘Thank you, Lord.’  I was praying,” said LaPorta.  “I’m a little bruised up, but I’m lucky to be alive.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


A Dozen Body Parts Discovered in Detroit-Area Sewer

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- A construction crew in suburban Detroit on Wednesday morning found around a dozen body parts 50 feet deep in the city's sewer.

"This morning, they go down to begin their work and they get down to a large grate at the 50-foot level and they see the body laying down there," Sterling Heights Police Department Lt. Luke Riley told ABC News in an interview Wednesday afternoon. "They call us, we go out and then get people down there to start the process of looking at them.

"There were maybe a dozen softball-sized pieces of a body," he said. "No arms or leg or torso -- nothing like that. Definitely a Caucasian. We're not sure if it's male or female."

Some of the body parts had a tattoo on them, he noted, something officials hope may help them in identifying the body.

"At least six or eight of these pieces had part of a tattoo on them," Riley said. "Once the medical examiner collected them he was able to clean things up and take a look at them and with photographs of these pieces we can tell it's a tattoo. We can't tell what it's a tattoo of, but there are two pieces that match up -- it's like a puzzle and we don't have all the pieces to it."

Riley said the construction crew had worked at the same site -- near 15 Mile Road and Schoenherr Road -- on Tuesday and no one saw the body parts until Wednesday morning.

The body parts, he said, may have flowed to that location from two lines in nearby Macomb County and Oakland County. The entire sewer line, he said, runs about 21 miles and ends up at the Detroit water treatment plant.

A stretch of 15 Mile Road near the site was closed down Wednesday for several hours.

According to Riley, the crew members who made the discovery handled the situation "very professionally."

"They knew the seriousness of the situation," he said. "They were very professional about it. They didn't, you know, lose it or anything like that."

After the discovery, he said, "these workers actually went back down and accompanied the fire department personnel to process the scene."

It is not the first discovery of body parts in the Detroit metropolitan area this summer. The decapitated bodies of a man and a woman were found in July in the Detroit River and a canal.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio