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Girl Survives After 13 Hours in Storm Sewer

June 28, 1989|From Times Wire Services

PASADENA, Tex. — A 7-year-old girl who was swept into a storm sewer by gushing waters from tropical storm Allison survived a 13-hour ordeal, clinging to a crack in a concrete pipe before being rescued by construction workers.

Latricia Reese suffered cuts on her knees and elbows and mild shock and was hospitalized in good condition.

She said today that she prayed and endured biting ants during the hours she was trapped in the concrete pipe.

"At first ants were biting me and I had to let go," she said in an interview with ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" from her hospital bed. "I did fall down a long way. But I grabbed onto something. . . . My head was above the water."

Asked if she sang or talked to herself during the ordeal, Latricia replied, "I prayed."

The girl also told her mother that she pretended she was in a house, creating rooms in her mind and imagining the bathroom was flooded.

The girl was pulled into a 17-inch uncovered drainage hole about 6:30 p.m. Monday while playing in a flooded ditch with her cousin, Crystal Killingsworth. Latricia was washed into a box culvert and then swept through a second 24-inch pipe. After passing 6 feet through that pipe, she fell 3 feet into the main collection system.

The girl was then forced 40 feet through a 36-inch runoff pipe before she was able to grab a crack in the concrete pipe and hold on. She pressed her face against the top of the pipe to breathe, scraping the width of her forehead.

Latricia was found Tuesday after her 15-year-old uncle engaged the help of two city contract workers who uncovered a manhole and found the girl clinging to the side of a storm sewer, 30 feet from where she first was sucked into the drainage system.

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