Nearly 50 people needed to rescue man from 16-inch pipe in Northern California

Downtown Antioch, Calif.
(Mengshin Lin / For The Times)
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Authorities rescued a man who said he’d been trapped for two days in a narrow underground storm drain pipe in Northern California.

Nearly 50 people needed 3½ hours to rescue the man from the pipe in Antioch on Sunday night, according to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

The man wasn’t injured but was taken to a hospital for evaluation, authorities said.

The man, who is in his 30s, told authorities he had climbed into the pipe, which had a diameter of 16 inches, and had been there for two days.


Firefighters crawled 270 feet inside the narrow pipe to reach the 28-year-old man, authorities said.

March 4, 2020

“He had crawled into this very small storm water drainage pipe until he came to a fairly significant debris field and could not go back,” fire spokesman Steve Hill told the Bay Area News Group.

Passersby heard his cries for help and contacted authorities, said Hill, who described the rescue as “borderline miraculous.”

The rescue was complicated and high-risk and specially trained firefighters using their own air supply rescued the man about 9 p.m., fire officials said.

Authorities didn’t immediately say why the man had crawled into the pipe.