Man survives for 6 days after falling into manhole


HOUSTON (KTRK/CNN) – A man in Houston was rescued from a manhole, in which he says he survived for at least six days by eating ants and even a snake.

Rescuers pulled 40-year-old Jason Courtney out of a manhole Monday. The man says he fell into the approximately 10-foot deep exposed hole while walking home from work on his way to his father’s house.

Firefighter Jason Abeldano, who was lowered into the hole to help bring the victim to safety, says Courtney seemed thin and had injured his ankle while falling into the hole.

Abeldano says Courtney told him he’d been in the hole for six days, but he still had a sense of humor.

“He was in good mental health for the amount of time he said he was down there. He was laughing and joking,” Abeldano said.

Courtney says it’s only by the grace of God that he survived the ordeal. He says he screamed for help for days. He couldn’t move because he broke his ankle, and his cell phone was washed away by water. He ate ants and even a snake while in the hole.

“He was just saying ‘thank you, thank you’ to everybody. That’s all I could hear from, you know, standing on the bottom, looking up top,” Abeldano said.

Nearby construction workers were the ones who finally heard Courtney’s cry for help and called rescuers.

“And he was thankful. He said, ‘Man, I’ve been screaming and yelling for while. I couldn’t get up there. I don’t know if anybody was hearing me,’” Abeldano said.

The city of Houston sent a crew out to look at the now barricaded hole, and officials say a proper manhole cover will be installed.

Courtney is recovering in the hospital. His injuries are not severe.

Copyright 2017 KTRK, Houston Fire Department via CNN. All rights reserved.