Mo. man survives mile-plus trip through sewer

AP News
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Posted: Oct 12, 2010 11:19 PM
Mo. man survives mile-plus trip through sewer

A worker who descended into a city sewage system on Tuesday became unhooked from his safety line and was pushed through a 27-inch-wide pipe for over a mile before his calls for help were heard and he was rescued.

Daniel Collins, of Collins, Mo., was listed in critical condition Tuesday night at Saint Luke's Hospital in Kansas City.

South Metropolitan Fire District Chief Randy Adams said Collins was being treated for hypothermia and had been administered antibiotics because he may have swallowed sewage.

Collins disappeared shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday after descending into the sewage system in the town of Raymore. Adams said crews frantically searched manholes along a 1.5-mile route near a golf course.

After about 90 minutes, firefighter and paramedic Antonio Smith heard Collins calling out, "Guys, I'm down here. Can you help me?"

Smith was lowered into the sewer chamber and found Collins about 12 feet down. Collins appeared to have some bruises but was able to speak, Smith told KMBC-TV.

"It was a miracle to find him in that condition," Smith said.

He said that he put Collins over his shoulder, and crews topside helped lift him out. Firefighters covered Collins with coats while waiting for an air ambulance.

Adams said Collins "was not totally coherent. He was basically in and out, and he was very weak."

Collins was tethered when he descended into the sewer and was still wearing the harness when he was found. It was unclear how he became unhooked, which allowed him to be pushed through the pipe by rushing water.

Raymore officials said Collins' employer, Rosetta Construction of Springfield, was working on parts of the city's sewer system.

A message left at Rosetta Construction after business hours Tuesday was not immediately returned.