Man stuck in storm drain under I-25 was rescued after drivers saw a hand sticking out of grate

He may have entered drain near Platte River
Posted at 6:23 PM, Jun 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-01 12:20:59-04

DENVER -- Drivers heading northbound on I-25 saw a hand sticking out of a storm drain and heard cries for help. A driver with the windows down called police, realizing someone was somehow stuck down below. 

"So I’m guessing that once the guy figured out it was for real and he wasn’t hallucinating he called 911," said Mark Ruzycki, Shift Commander with the Denver Fire Department.

First responders soon confirmed that a man was stuck under the busiest interstate in the Denver metro area. Rescuers blocked off three lanes of traffic on I-25 near 20th Street. The closure came during the busy holiday weekend rush and backed up traffic for several miles.

Firefighters worked to free the grate and said the man was talking and alert during the rescue.

“Put tension on the grate and then hit it, once we had removed all the bolts hit it with a sledgehammer and popped it loose," said Ruzycki.

Crews were able to lower a ladder down the drain and reached the man just after 6 p.m. Paramedics took the man to Denver Health.

Fire officials believe the man may have entered the drain near the South Platte River. They said the man appeared to be uninjured but was taken to the hospital as a precaution.