‘Screaming’ man wakes up wedged inside a 12-inch drain pipe, Utah rescuers say

A 40-year-old homeless man woke Saturday morning to find himself wedged inside a 12-inch drain pipe near his camp in Salt Lake City, The Gephardt Daily reports.

“He’d gone to sleep, either in the pipe or near the pipe, and slid down into it while he was sleeping,” said Capt. Adam Davies of the Salt Lake City Fire Department, KSTU reported. “When he woke up and was trapped in the pipe, he was screaming for help.”

Trapped three feet inside the pipe, the man shouted for help for four hours, The Deseret News reported.

Passers-by and nearby residents finally heard the man’s cries and called firefighters, KSTU reported. After attempts to pull him out and lower a rope to him failed, firefighters cut the pipe open to extricate him using a pulley system.

“They were able to get him out pretty quick,” said Division Chief Ryan Mellor, The Deseret News reported.

The department’s heavy rescue team took part in the operation, The Gephardt Daily reported.

The rescue took place beneath an Interstate 80 overpass in Salt Lake City, KUTV reported.

Davies said the man, who was slightly dehydrated, was lucky to be alive because confined spaces like drain pipes have “reduced oxygen content and often times they have toxic gases in them as well,” KSTU reported.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.