PARMA, Ohio - A 14-year-old Parma boy survived being swept into a sewer pipe with just scrapes on his leg, bruises on his knee and six stitches in his arm.
Jeff LaPorta was riding his bike through puddles in a Parma parking lot at the corner of York and Pleasant Valley Roads Tuesday evening. He was with his friend, Miguel Torres. The friends did not realize the catch basins were blocked, the creek had overflowed into the parking lot and the divide between the concrete and the creek disappeared. LaPorta fell into the creek.
"I heard a splash, turned around and the bike was falling in and I ran over here and started yelling for him," said Torres.At that moment, a city worker was checking on the catch basins, Torres flagged him down for help.
LaPorta was sucked into the sewer pipe and carried underneath Pleasant Valley Road.
"It was over my head for two minutes," said LaPorta. "I was so scared, I was terrified."
Rescue and sewer workers started looking for the teenager.
"Jesus, please help me, please help me, I was praying and praying and praying," said LaPorta.
"They started lifting up manhole covers and yelling inside, lifting 6 or 8 of them and someone answered. So, they got in suits and got the ropes. One went in and he was holding onto a chunk of concrete inside there," said Parma Firefighter Doug Turner.
LaPorta was taken to the hospital but released a few hours later. He said the ordeal lasted about an hour.
"I'm the luckiest person in the world," said LaPorta.
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