Teen Falls Through Water Pipe, Rescued by Crews
PARMA, Ohio — Two young teen boys were riding their bikes in the rain Tuesday when one of the boys was sucked down a drain pipe.
The boys, thought to be about 13 years of age, were pedaling through the flooded out parking lot at Kens Plaza located at the corner of York Rd and Pleasant Valley Rd around 5:15 p.m.
“The water was really deep,” said Melinda Hodges, “It was hard for them to even pedal.”
Unbeknownst to the boys, a creek and 2 foot wide drain pipe were hidden beneath the water.
Parma Fire Dept. Public Information Officer Doug Turner says when the boys rode their bikes to the back of the plaza, near the tree line one of the teens “just disappeared”.
Luckily a city worker was nearby. He was responding to clear debris from the same drain pipe.
He quickly called for help from the Parma Fire and Rescue Squads.
“We saw a bike smashed into the mud next to the tunnel so we set up rope rescue,” said Firefighter David Higginbotham.
Thirteen rescuers began lifting manhole covers and looking for signs of the teen.
Higginbotham says, when the boy didn’t respond at first they feared the worst,” We were assuming it was a body recovery at that time.”
But then they heard him call out to rescuers.
The boy, who is also a Valley Forge freshman was, located about 1,500 feet from where he went into the pipe, under the road near a Sunoco Gas Station.
Higginbotham said, “He was holding on to the concrete at the top and water just came rushing by and I said hold on the best you can we’re coming to get you.”
About a half hour later the rescuers were able to free the teen and reunite him with his father.
The boy was then taken to MetroHealth Medical Center to be treated for various cuts and bruises.
With all things considered rescuers say the fact that the teen isn’t more seriously harmed is nothing short of miraculous.
“Divine intervention had something to do with it,” said Higginbotham,”It was a rush. It felt really good. It was a great day.”