Worker recovering after being trapped in sewer line in Oakland

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A man trapped in a sewer is finally free after he was stuck in a small space for more than 13 hours. (KGO-TV)

A man was trapped in a sewer line for more than 13 hours before he was rescued. He's now at the hospital recovering after surviving the frightening ordeal.

The man's boss was at the scene all 13 hours and was at his bedside Wednesday morning. He says Roglio Esparza is in good spirits.

"He's so happy. Thank you fire department, thank you city of Oakland, thank you Oakland Police Department and everybody who helped him get out," said Juan Coronado, victim's boss.

Esparza was working on a home sewer line in East Oakland when the hole fell in on him at 12:30 Tuesday afternoon, trapping him in dirt up to his chest. Firefighters say his feet were 17 feet from the surface. They didn't pull him to safety till 2:00 a.m. Wednesday. Even firefighters felt frustrated with how long it was taking, but they say they were working in sand, which kept caving in on them when they pulled. Esparza's boss said they felt terrible as they watched the slow process. Coronado said Esparza was also wondering why it was taking so long.

"He was a little bit worried about it because it was taking a long times he felt very dizzy. He is so happy right now," said Coronado.

"It was extremely tedious and it was a game of inches is how one of the company officers defined it. That's dead on, you would pick up an inch of material and two inches would sluff in and then you would be digging that out and we were just burning out rescue workers and it got near the end it was 'ok you have been in the hole twice, you have been in the hole twice," said Oakland Fire Department Deputy Chief Mark Hoffmann.

Esparza is in good condition. Coronado said they are hoping he can come home Thursday. They are waiting to hear the final word from the doctor.

His wife and two kids live in Los Angeles and are making their way up to Oakland. Coronado says he thinks Esparza will feel much better when his family gets to the hospital. Coronado said Esparza, who has been with the company for six years, wants to go back to work.

Related Topics:
newsrescuepoliceOPDfirefightersconstruction accidentsewerOaklandEast Oakland
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