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.”

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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.

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.”