An 8-year-old German boy has miraculously been found alive stuck in an underground sewer after disappearing from his parents' front garden eight days earlier, triggering a huge search operation involving police and hundreds of local residents.
The young boy, Joe, lives in Oldenburg, Germany, with his parents and mysteriously vanished on June 17.
He was found when a walker called police after hearing a "faint whimpering sound" coming from a sewer on June 25.
The passerby reported hearing the whimper to the police at 6.22am. Emergency services rushed to the scene that was approximately 200m from the family home in the Donnerschwee district.
When rescue crews removed the manhole cover they found the 8-year-old boy in knee-high water at the bottom of the sewer, a firefighter entered and winched the boy to safety.
Local police are now investigating if the boy simply got lost or was shut in the sewer, authorities have acknowledged that there is a possibility that someone put him there deliberately.
Joe was quickly taken to hospital and was suffering from hypothermia, but he luckily has no major injuries and medical staff have said he should make a full recovery.
A spokesperson for Oldenburg Police said that Joe was being "well looked after" at a local hospital, and confirmed that they were intending on interviewing him about what happened in the coming days.
An eyewitness said to local reporters: "I saw how the boy was carefully pulled out of the hole, a helper calmed him down. "I didn't know it was Joe. He looked unharmed. I can't believe he was in there and alive"
Oldenburg police are planning on using specialist robots to travel through the drains in an attempt to establish how the boy managed to get stuck down there. Police confirmed that due to the narrowness of the sewer it would not have been possible for an adult to pass through.
Retired doctor Peter Sefrin, told local media: "At these temperatures, the heat is an important factor. "But in the canal, it is naturally cooler. Humans can survive a good three days without water and food. That's no problem.
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