WEST COVINA — Firefighters rescued a 14-year-old boy who became stuck in a drainage pipe at Gingrich Park Wednesday while trying to retrieve his basketball, authorities said.
The boy was playing at the park, 1935 Woodgate Drive, about 1:40 p.m. when his basketball rolled into the mouth of an exposed drainage pipe, West Covina Fire Department Capt. Marco Arredondo said.
“When we arrived, you could just see his hands sticking out, holding on,” the captain said.
The pipe is 20 inches in diameter and descends 12 to 15 feet at a 45-degree angle, officials said.
He had apparently been trapped in the pipe for about 10 minutes before his friends called 9-1-1 for help, Arredondo said.
Firefighters quickly managed to unwedge the teen from the pipe and pull him to freedom, he said. He was unharmed.
City crews were summoned to erect a temporary barricade around the pipe opening until it could be sealed with metal bars to prevent another incident, Arredondo said. It appeared the pipe had been sealed off in the past, but the metal bars had been broken off.
Officials also retrieved the ball from the pipe, he added. “That way it wouldn’t be tempting for other kids in the future.”