Germany: Missing boy found alive in sewer after eight days

Credit: AP

A missing eight-year-old boy has been found alive after surviving for more than one week in a sewer in Oldenburg, Germany.

There had been a massive search for Joe, the missing boy, who disappeared eight days earlier - but there was no trace of him until Saturday morning, police said.

A passerby had heard a soft whimper from the direction of a manhole cover at around 6.20 am and called the emergency services.

When rescuers opened the heavy lid, they found the little boy.

The boy was found in a drainage canal near his home. Credit: AP

Stephan Klatte, Oldenburg police spokesman, said: "We were lucky this morning that a walker was out and about in Oldenburg near where the boy lived.

"He was moving along the road and there were noises. He told us that he heard something from under the roadway and there was a manhole cover nearby, and his first thought was 'there's something underneath'.

"He reacted immediately, alerted the police, fire department and rescue service, the emergency services went there, lifted the manhole cover, and right underneath it, at a depth of two metres, lay the child."

A walker on the street heard whimpering from underground, prompting the search. Credit: AP

Joe was "doing well under the circumstances," his father said on Saturday evening.

"I just want to say a big thank you to all the people who searched, even if they didn't find Joe, but to all the people who were involved, thank you, thank you, thank you!" he said.

Police said their investigation is now focussed on how Joe got into the shaft, because he could not have lifted the heavy lid on his own.

He could have climbed into the maze of tunnels at another point in the sewer system and crawled through the pipes, a police spokesman said.

The entire sewer system is now being examined with cameras.

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