13-year-old 'miracle boy' found alive after falling into drainage pipe

Jesse Hernandez, who fell through a wooden plank and washed away into a network of drainage pipes in Los Angeles, was found after a 13-hour search.
7:13 | 04/03/18

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Transcript for 13-year-old 'miracle boy' found alive after falling into drainage pipe
I've never seen so many big burly men holding back tears and hug each other. After 12 agonizing hours, a rescue so unbelievable that some are calling it the Easter miracle. Everybody in the city came together. They were all this for the singular point to save Jesse. 13-year-old Jesse Hernandez found alive this morning after he slipped and fell into a drainage pipe full of raw sewage yesterday afternoon. We did not give up but I'll be honest, we did not think we would find him alive. In a race against time, using highly specialized equipment to navigate a maze of sewage tunnels. It all began yesterday in a holiday celebration. Reporter: They were celebrating in this park right over here. At some point and he his friends left this path and found this old maintenance vent. They somehow got up on the roof. Then wood plank gave away and he fell. 35 feet down into a sanitation drainage mine went to a net work of I'm thats. An approximate four-foot wide pipe. The water and sewage moving approximately 15-miles-per-hour. Reporter: The height he fell from, the speed of the current, the toxicity of the sewage water, all making his chances of survival extremely slim. Authorities used these search cameras mounted to cameras similar to a boogie board which are tethered to a rope 300 feet down. Their task nearly impossible. Navigating a 6,400 foot long labyrinth. We're mapping out this drainage system. Finding out where it goes. There are larger areas to where there could be enough air that if this boy was that he could survive. Their search taking them to areas up to a mile and a half away from where Jesse initially fell in. Nobody could finds him or hear him or see him. Meanwhile law enforcement searching the nearby river but coming up empty. His family beseeching anyone who has seen him. Hope was starting to diminish but nobody gave up. Everybody stayed strong and had a plan that was very well communicated and was right on point. The last fire department working the bureau of sanitation pimts the search area to a one-mile radius. Narrowing it down to a part of pipe four feet in diameter. He there kept looking for him. Hoping he would be in one of those structures. So your workers were going from hatch to hatch, opening them up, looking for him. They would stay there and look for him. They didn't want to leave. Little did they know, Jesse had made a similar decision. He saw a glint of light and positioned himself there until they could find him. According to one of the cameras, they saw some hand prints on the sewer, inside. Inside the pipe? As you know, a sewer has some kind of a film. Anybody that touches it can make some marks. So the hand prints were present and it looked like elbows coming down leaving marks. As if he was trying to hold on. Around 5:00 A.M., rescuers opened the maintenance hatch and instead saw Jesse sitting there. The first thing they hear is help. More than 12 hours after fell in, Jesse came out. When he was located, he was cold, he was scared, he was hungry, a little bit of a natural shock that would take place for anyone being in that environment for that long. The bureau of sanitation gave him a phone to call his mom. You can just imagine the relief that they had felt from hearing their son's voice. That same relief was held over 30 years ago. In Midland, Texas, when then 18-month-old Jessica Mcclure was rescued from an abandoned dry well. She was trapped inside for 58 terrifying hours as rescue teams frantically worked to free her, pull her out while the world watched. I had all the faith in the world that she would come out all right. More recently, 53 Chilean miners were rescued in one the of most are daring rescues in history. The 33 miners became trapped after the mine they were working in, clamingsed after blocking the exit. They took refuge inside the mine remaining for 69 days. A rescue effort mobilized above to free they will. First with rescuers drilling bore holes to find the group confirming they were alive. And later, to send supplies down. Finally after weeks of drilling -- the miners were brought to the surface in this capsule. The fenex. One by one, all 33 men wearing sunglasses to protect their eyes after nearly two and a half months underground were pulled to freedom. They were joyously embraced by their families and the world. An estimated 1 billion people watched the rescue live on TV. The news we have been hoping for and we briefly interrupt your programming to show you these pictures. The first of the 33 miners has returned to safety. The miners became international celebrities. Some visiting Disney world and meeting the pope. There was even a movie made about them. The 33 starring Antonio Banderas. An investigation determined that no one was to blame for the collapse and no criminal charges were filed against the owners of the mine. And there was a question of how the abandoned shed was accessible to Jesse and his friends. Tonight he is released from the hospital after going a complete evaluation. It is not about us. As far as the fire department, we Tim our helmet to the bureau of sanitation. They did an outstanding job. And all these entities. We're all just here to find the same thing. We wanted to find this boy and make sure he was alive. We wanted to render aid to him more than anything and give him back to his family. For him to be down there, to be able to speak, to be with his family. That's a blessing. For "Nightline" in los Angeles.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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