Officials say a man’s cell phone saved his life after he fell into a sewer while walking in southwest suburban Orland Park over the weekend.
The man was apparently walking south on Harlem Avenue near 143rd Street at about 5:50 p.m. when he fell into a 20-foot-deep manhole, Fire Chief Ken Brucki of the Orland Park Fire Protection District told reporters at the scene. He called 911 when he realized he had hurt his leg and couldn’t move, Brucki said.
In 911 tapes released Tuesday, the man can be heard screaming for help as officers search the dark street for the area where he fell.
“I see lights flashing above,” he told the dispatcher.
“He sees lights above,” the dispatcher told police at the scene before telling the man to “holler.”
Police said it took roughly 15 minutes to find the hole where the man fell.
Crews pulled the man out and took him to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, officials said. He suffered “some trauma” to the lower part of his body, Brucki said.
The man told dispatch he was “in pain, but more in shock now.”
In a statement Wednesday, the man, identified only as Steve, said he was still in the hospital recovering from his injuries.
"While I'm in a great deal of pain, I am thankful to be alive and grateful to the fine men and women who rescued me and are treating me here in the hospital," the statement read. "
Police called the outcome “amazing” and said the incident was "very unusual."
“The cell phone definitely saved his life,” Brucki said.