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Ga. firefighters rescue man trapped in 24-inch drain pipe

Catoosa County officials believe the man might have been trapped for more than a day

By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

CATOOSA COUNTY, Ga. —Calls for help along a north Georgia highway led to the discovery of a man stuck in a 24-inch drainpipe under the road, according to rescuers.

It’s suspected the 22-year-old may have been trapped for more than a day before he was rescued around midnight on Tuesday, April 16, Catoosa County officials said in a news release.

Firefighters spent nine hours trying to pry him from the “partially clogged storm drain” in Fort Oglethorpe, about a 105-mile drive northwest from Atlanta.

“Just before 3:00 p.m. Tuesday Catoosa County 911 received a call from a motorist reporting hearing a man calling for help inside a storm drain under Georgia Highway 2 near the intersection of Highway 27 ( Lafayette Road ),” county officials said in the release.

“Catoosa County firefighters determined the man was trapped inside a 24-inch drainpipe (that) was about 50% clogged with debris ... of a heavy, rocky, clay consistency.”

Firefighters hand chiseled through the “hard, compacted debris,” which was then sucked from the pipe with a vacuum truck, officials said.

The man “was conscious and communicating with firefighters” during the rescue.

Investigators say his family reported him missing that morning.

“(He) is believed to have been trapped since Monday when for unknown reasons he entered the storm drain several hundred feet away from where he became trapped,” officials said.

“He was freed and taken by Puckett EMS to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.”

Details of his injuries were not released.

“Thanks to our firefighters putting their confined space rescue training to work and the assistance from several partnering agencies, this lengthy and technical rescue has a successful outcome,” Catoosa County Fire Chief Daniel Walston said in the release.

“I am proud of how everyone involved worked together to save this young man’s life.”

Catoosa County is along the Tennessee state line, just south of Chattanooga .

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