Five mischievous children had to be rescued from a Staten Island sewer system Tuesday after they crawled through a tunnel, ventured deep and then got lost, according to the New York City Fire Department.
The FDNY received an emergency call around 6 p.m. Tuesday regarding the children trapped in the sewers, Department Chief John Hodgens said at a news conference Wednesday.
Edited 911 audio released by the FDNY captures some of the exchanges between a dispatcher and a child. In one exchange, the dispatcher asked for an address.
“We don’t know,” answered a child’s voice.
“Don’t you know?” said the dispatcher.
“We’re like…we’re stuck in the sewers,” the boy said.
“Are you stuck where?” the dispatcher asked.
“In the sewers,” said the boy.
Fire alarm dispatcher Marlind Haxhialiu said she asked the boy questions to determine where they entered the sewer system, according to the FDNY. Responding fire units located the children’s backpacks at the entrance to the tunnel, which leads to the sewers below Clove Lakes Park.
Authorities determined that the children had crawled into the sewer system through the tunnel and had traveled up to a quarter mile (about 400 meters) further in, Hodgens said.
FDNY Lt. John Drew said the tunnel had an opening of just over 40 inches (1 meter) which was later reduced to about 30 inches (76 centimeters), making navigation difficult.