Deer Park man rescued from storm-drain plunge in Uniondale

EAST MEADOW - A Deer Park man was rescued earlier today after he was trapped overnight in a Uniondale storm drain.

Police say Joe Hranicka, 50, was working for the Islip-based Pam Sweeping when he fell 25 feet into the storm drain on Jerusalem Avenue at 11:40 p.m.

Tommy Eareckson says he was riding his bicycle this morning past a vacant parking lot when he spotted a street sweeper truck idling and heard calls for help. Eareckson says he peered into the storm drain and saw a man trapped inside.

Police say the street sweeper spotted a piece of plywood in the parking lot and fell in while removing it, unaware that it was covering a storm drain.

Officials say the owner of the property where the incident happened noticed yesterday that the sewer grate was missing and temporarily replaced it with the piece of plywood.

Police freed Hranicka at 7:45 a.m. after an hour-long rescue operation.

Hranicka is being treated at Nassau University Medical Center for multiple fractures and bruises. He is expected to undergo surgery tomorrow for two broken wrists.

Meanwhile, Hranicka has hired an attorney, but it remains unknown what legal action he is planning to take.

For Chopper 12 footage of the storm drain rescue in Uniondale, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.

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