STATEN ISLAND (PIX11) — The FDNY on Wednesday released a recording of a 911 call that details how five children ended up in a storm drain in Staten Island.
The five boys — ages 11 and 12 — crawled into the storm drain near Martling Avenue and Clove Road around 6 p.m. Tuesday and got lost in the tunnel system, according to FDNY officials.
The boys had traveled about a quarter of a mile from where they entered but got disoriented and lost their way. In the 911 recording, dispatchers asked the kids questions to figure out their location.
“What’s the address in Staten Island?” the dispatcher says at the start of the call.
The child on the phone responds, “We don’t know … we’re stuck in the sewer.”
In apparent disbelief, the dispatcher asked again: “You’re stuck where?”
“In the sewer,” the boy responds.
The FDNY dispatchers then began to ask the kids questions to figure out where they entered the storm drain so they could send emergency responders to rescue them. The boys described a cemetery and a tunnel entrance near the Staten Island Zoo and Clove Lakes Park.
“It’s like a tunnel where all the pipes are,” one of the boys tells the dispatcher.
Later on the call, sirens could be heard in the background and the dispatcher told the boys to yell and scream because the first responders could hear them.
“Help! Help! Help us!” the boys yelled.
The dispatcher told the boys the first responders found the entrance and were walking toward them to get them out. It took coordination, specific equipment, meter devices, rope and the skills of a few firefighters to find them.
“We might have hands on the kids right now,” someone on a radio could be heard saying on the 911 call. “We have all five children removed from the sewer. EMS is assessing them as we speak.”
All of the kids along with one firefighter were transported to Richmond University Medical Center. They are all expected to be OK.
Kevin Reyes, 12, was one of the boys rescued from the storm drain. He spoke to PIX11 News about their experience.
Kevin said the boys have been friends since they were little and have gone exploring in the area before. But this time, one friend went in and got stuck. Kevin said he was the first to try to get the friend out. The three other boys followed and then they all found themselves in the harrowing situation.
“Dark, a lot of spiders and really tight,” Kevin said. “We were scared that we would not get out because our legs were numb.”
FDNY firefighter John Loennecker said the boys had been crawling on their knees for about an hour and were hurting.
“It was dark down there. They had one cellphone light,” Loennecker said. “They were very nervous. They were in this tube for maybe an hour. They were more relieved.”
By Wednesday afternoon, the area where the boys got stuck was now cordoned off with a chain link fence.