CHICAGO (CBS) — Calls for help from at least 12 feet below ground; authorities have released the audio from a call to 911 made by a man who fell through a manhole into a sewer in the south suburbs on Saturday evening.

When the man named Steve was walking along Harlem Avenue – somewhere between 143rd and 151st Street – he fell into a sewer.

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Fortunately, he had his cell phone – and called 911.

OPERATOR: “OK, so nobody can see you waving your hands in the street, right?”

STEVE: “Pardon me?”

OPERATOR: “They can’t see you waving your hands, or anything, right? You’re completely in the sewer?”

STEVE: “Oh, there’s no way you could see me wave my hands, because I’m about 12 feet below…”

OPERATOR: “You’re below…”

STEVE “I’m about 12 feet below the ground.”

The operator told Steve to listen for sirens, and to call out for help, so rescuers would be able to hear where he is in the darkness of a Saturday evening.

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At first, he heard nothing.

STEVE: “OK, now I hear them coming closer. Hello! The fact that I can move my leg, is that a good sign that it’s not broken?”

OPERATOR: “Are you in pain? But try not to move it, though.”

STEVE: “Yeah, I’m in a little pain, but I think it’s more shock now.”

OPERATOR: “Well, don’t try to move it any more. Just let them … try to stand still, OK?”


OPERATOR: “They’re almost there.”

Crews with the Orland Fire Protection District did get him out.

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Three days after the ordeal, Steve told WBBM, “By the grace of God, I’m doing all right.”