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Boy saved after falling into sewer main and being dragged a half-mile

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. — A teenage boy fell into an open New York sewer main and was dragged along by the sewage for about half a mile before being rescued.

The Albany Times Union newspaper reported that the 14-year-old was out with a couple of friends Saturday afternoon in Ballston Spa, a village of about 5,500 residents in Saratoga County. The boy and his friends came across the open main, which authorities say was under construction but should have been covered.

After the boy fell into the sewer line, authorities following the path of the main heard him yelling and pulled off a manhole cover in an industrial park to rescue him.


The teen was hospitalized, but authorities said he suffered only minor injuries.

His 20-minute trip through the sewer pipe, which passed through woods, across a creek, and under a highway, ended loudly.

“It was a curdling scream,” Sergeant James Leonard said about the boy’s cries for help that led deputies to him.

The deputies pulled the manhole cover off the county sewer line where it passed through the Curtis Industrial Park. They found the boy clutching the metal railings that serve as steps.

“We found him and pulled him out in the industrial park,” Leonard said. “He’s a lucky young man.”

The boy and his two friends were on bicycles and playing in the woods along the Zim Smith Trail. The Saratoga County sheriff’s office said Sunday that that section of Zim Smith Trail was closed when the teens came across it.