Man Rescued from Storm Drain at Santa Barbara Harbor

Was Under a Heavy Grate for Six Hours as Tide Came In

Credit: Carl Perry

Numerous City Fire units sped to the Harbor when a call came in on Friday at 1:30 p.m. that a man was trapped in a storm drain and that the tide was rising.

The man had apparently crawled in from the other end of the tunnel and found himself in a very tight space, said Kevin Corbett, public information officer for City Fire. Over his head was a heavy grate atop which a truck was parked in the Waterfront parking lot. Passersby heard him calling for help, Corbett said, and the Harbor Patrol was able to reach the truck owner, who moved his vehicle.

Courtesy Santa Barbara City Fire

The engine companies, heavy rescue company, hazardous materials unit, and battalion chief at the scene attempted to use straps, crowbars, and cutting tools to remove the grate, but to no avail. They called in a tow truck, which wrapped a chain around the grate and pulled it loose.

The man, who remains unidentified but appeared to be in his thirties, was helped out of the drain, where he’d become very cold as the sea water rose and flooded the tunnel over the course of about six hours. He was taken by ambulance to Cottage Hospital.

Credit: Carl Perry

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