Man Spends Night in Storm Drain Before Bicyclist Hears His Cries for Help

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011  |  Updated 3:31 PM EDT
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Authorities rescue a man who fell 25 feet into a hole that had been covered by plywood.

Authorities rescue a man who fell 25 feet into a hole that had been covered by plywood.

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A man fell into a 25-foot-deep storm drain on Long Island and spent the night there before he was rescued Tuesday morning when a bicyclist passing by heard his calls for help.

Joe Hranicka, a street sweeper operator, is believed to have fallen into the storm drain in Uniondale, N.Y., around 11 p.m. Monday night.

Nassau County police said a piece of plywood had been placed over the open storm drain, which did not have its steel grate. When Hranicka got out of his sweeper vehicle to move the plywood, he fell into the hole.

Hours passed before Tim Eareckson rode by on his bike, at about 6:30 a.m.

"I heard somebody yell 'Help me, help me, help me,' and I looked down, there was a guy stuck under the manhole cover," Eareckson said.

Hranicka was brought out by rescuers and taken to the hospital, where he has cuts on his face and possibly broken bones.

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