Storm drain victim recounts spending night trapped, injured

A street sweeper from Deer Park who was rescued yesterday after spending hours trapped inside a storm drain spoke to News 12 Long Island today,

EAST MEADOW - A street sweeper from Deer Park who was rescued yesterday after spending hours trapped inside a storm drain spoke to News 12 Long Island today, saying that he wasn't sure he was going to make it out alive.

Joseph Hrancika says he spent the longest night of his life Monday stuck in the bottom of a 25-foot-deep sewer. When he heard the voice of passerby Timothy Eareckson, Hrancika says it sounded like a godsend.

Hrancika had fallen into an uncovered manhole on Jerusalem Avenue shortly before midnight Monday. He recalls laying bleeding in the darkness and growing more desperate by the hour.

"As I fell, I bounced off the edge of the hole with my face," Hrancika says. "I cracked my dentures in half and I have facial fractures."

Hrancika says there is no telling how long he would have been stuck in the storm drain if Eareckson didn't spot his idling truck and call 911.

"I wanted to compensate him, but I'm living paycheck to paycheck myself and I don't know what to do for him," Hrancika says.

Hrancika is scheduled to undergo surgery on his two broken wrists tomorrow. He hopes to be released by the end of next week.

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