A Houston firefighter is telling his tale of a dramatic rescue that happened early Monday morning of a man who says he was stuck inside a sewage manhole for almost a week.
It was Houston firefighter Jason Abeldano’s first time to drop willingly 10 to 12 feet down a sewage manhole.
“He’s done it before, so he goes, 'Hey, it's your turn,'” Abeldano said.
It was his turn to get strapped up to go down and rescue a man trapped inside.
“He said he was walking through the field and fell in there. Nobody was around him. Nobody was with him. He had been screaming and hollering for a few days,” Abeldano said.
According to the Houston Fire Department, the man was stuck under the South Sam Houston Tollway near the Southwest Freeway. A company doing repairs in the area found the man and called 911 at about 2:30 a.m. Monday.
The man says no one heard him at the bottom of the manhole for days until he finally caught the attention of a construction worker early Monday morning.
“He must've survived on strength alone. You start going into dehydration, lack of food, lack of energy to run his body,” Abeldano said.
Abeldano says the man was in good spirits, all things considering.
“He even joked around, and said, 'Man, I'm happy this happened now instead of last month, or we would’ve been swimming,'” Abeldano said.
Abeldano says the man is very lucky to be alive.
“He stated he’d been out there for six days to a week. I don’t know how he survived out there that long,” Abeldano said.
The hole should be covered by Monday night.
The city says they don’t know why the manhole was uncovered. It could have been from Hurricane Harvey, or it could have been stolen. They have replaced 65 manhole covers since Harvey hit.
The city is asking everyone to call 311 to report any open manholes.