Many of you are wondering how that 13-year-old girl ended up in a storm drain on upper Wetumpka Road in Montgomery Sunday afternoon. WSFA 12 News takes an exclusive look inside the drain, 80 feet below ground.
The Montgomery firefighters were the first responders in the rescue effort.
"Once we got here and accessed the scene, we realized it was going to be a difficult rescue,"
"It's nothing to be seen done there and it's nothing but danger and this is just a perfect example of how that could go wrong," Montgomery firefighter Shane Williams said.
Rescuers, Public Works Director Chris Conway and Mayor Todd Strange took us inside the storm drain where the 13-year-old girl was found. Authorities believe she deliberately went inside this dark tunnel where she fell.
She was 30 feet below this tunnel and she had to walk 80 feet just to get to that drop-off point. From the street level that's about another 10 feet. And these bars that you see here, they had to be cut so the rescuers could get to her.
Some people living near the drain were concerned signs were not at street level. Instead, they're posted right in front of the drain entrance. Conway says the openings cannot be closed completely and even with the bars, people can still get in. But he emphasized, a storm drain is no place for anyone to be.
"Stay out of storm structures. They are not for recreation. They are for kids to be playing in them," Conway said.
Most of these drains are old. And, there's a risk of falling debris. Conway says most importantly, these drains carry a lot of water.
"Water can get on you pretty quickly and the next thing you know you're trapped and confined and God knows what could happen," Conway said.
Rescuers say this teen is lucky to be alive. The teen only suffered a fractured arm and leg. It took about two hours for rescuers to get her out.