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Student Removed from UCI Sewer Pipe

By: Christina Acevedo

Update 11/7/2019: This article has been updated to include information provided by the Orange County Fire Authority.

A UCI student who was stranded in the university sewer system was rescued by the UCI Police Department and Irvine firefighters on Nov. 1 at around 10:37 p.m. 

The subject, a 19-year-old second-year male student living on campus, allegedly got caught in the sewer system after he attempted to follow and film a raccoon. According to UCIPD, he went in through an entry point located by the University Club on East Peltason Drive.

The student walked for 20 minutes, reaching Bonita Park. He called the police after he realized that he was unable to exit through a storm grate that he had located and that he did not have enough phone battery to light the way on his walk back to the entry point.

The Orange County Fire Authority received the call at 9:55 p.m. and retrieved the student through a storm grate located in Vista Bonita Dr. and Mendel Ct. around 40 minutes later.

“It’s the first time I’ve heard where somebody basically followed a tunnel to a dead end and the fire authority had to cut the [storm grate] off,” police Lt. Matt Mahoney said.

While Mahoney lacked knowledge about whether the student will face repercussions for the incident, he said UCIPD contacted the manager at University Hills to inform them of the incident. Mahoney said that he assumes the student will have to pay the repair costs for the damage done to the storm grate during the removal.

In a statement released to the New University, the Director of Media Relations for Strategic Communications & Public Affairs Tom Vasich made recommendations regarding UCI’s tunnels and sewers. 

“We urge all students to stay out of UCI’s tunnel and sewer system,” Vasich said. “It’s trespassing and can lead to dangerous results.”