STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (PIX11) — One of the five sixth-graders who got stuck in a Staten Island storm drain Tuesday evening said he was scared he and his longtime buddies would not be rescued.
“(It was) dark, a lot of spiders and really tight,” Kevin Reyes, 12, told PIX11 News on Wednesday. “We were scared that we would not get out because our legs were numb.”
Reyes said the boys have been friends since they were little and they’ve gone exploring in the area before. But this time, one friend got stuck in the storm drain near Martling Avenue and Clove Road around 6 p.m. Reyes said he was the first one to try to help his friend before three other buddies followed him into the sewer. Then they all found themselves in a harrowing situation.
“We saw him go in. We told him to wait. We tried to go get him but he’s so far so we called 911,” the boy said.
The FDNY on Wednesday released the 911 call.
“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?”
One of the boys had a cellphone and was able to call for help. Rescue crews arrived within five minutes but then had to locate the kids. Dispatch stayed on the phone with the boys to pinpoint their location. Firefighters had to open 10 manholes before they found the kids.
“We could hear their voices a little bit we couldn’t make out what they were saying but we knew they were in there,” Firefighter John Loennecker said.
The boys were not seriously injured but were evaluated at a local hospital. Reyes’ mom was frantic when she got the call about her son, who is now grounded, she said. Her son has learned his lesson.
“(I learned) not to go back not to go in sewers,” Reyes said.