How A Group Of Kids Became Trapped In A New York City Sewer

Five boys were saved after they became lost after entering the New York City sewer tunnel at Clove Lakes Park near the Staten Island Zoo.

By Wendy Hernandez | Published

new york city sewer

Five young kids recently embarked on a journey that could have been straight out of Peter Pan’s playbook. The group of boys, like Peter and his lost boys, ventured into the unknown, seeking adventure and excitement. But, just like Peter and his friends, they quickly found themselves lost and unable to find their way back. However, instead of finding themselves in Neverland, they ended up in a much less enchanting location: a New York City sewer.

Unlike Peter Pan’s story, fortunately, these boys had access to modern technology that ultimately helped them escape their predicament.

NBC News reported that on Tuesday, March 21, the five boys were saved after they became lost after entering the New York City sewer tunnel at Clove Lakes Park near the Staten Island Zoo and climbing inside. According to the authorities, they received a request for assistance from one youngster who dialed 911. In the transcript of the call, the young caller can be heard saying, “We’re like … We’re stuck in the sewers,” the child said in a 911 audio call released by the department. “We like … yeah, we walked a lot.” 

The 911 operator then instructed the kids to call out from inside the New York City sewer while teams were being sent to the location. After some investigation, the rescuers determined where the children had entered the sewer. Their jackets and backpacks had been left behind on the ground outside the entrance, showing where the young explorers had disappeared.

Because the youngsters had wandered for a long time in the tunnel, FDNY Chief John Hodgens said it took firefighters some time to figure out where they were. Rescuers had to open manhole covers until they could hear the youngsters yelling for assistance. “It was a little bit challenging, but FDNY dispatchers did a great job of continuing to communicate and try to pinpoint exactly where they were,” Hodgens said at a news conference.

Hodgens also said it was “amazing” that the boy’s smartphone continued functioning even after being inside the sewer. 

Fortunately, the children could contact emergency services for help, and their smartphones continued to function even after falling into the New York City sewer. One of the boys suffered a minor injury to his leg, but all of the children were transported to the hospital so that they could be evaluated.

What Kids Should Do If They Get Lost

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, if children go missing, they should stay put, make noise to attract attention, and seek shelter. They should also keep identification and contact information on them at all times in case they need to be reunited with their parents or guardians.

This dramatic rescue from the depths of a New York City sewer should serve as a reminder to young kids that playing around tunnels and other risky sites can be dangerous. Authorities have warned parents to be vigilant and monitor their children’s activities. They have also urged children to avoid such areas and avoid attempting to explore them.