A man is hospitalized in critical condition after he was found unconscious in a Kansas City sewer Monday morning.

Fire crews responded just before 8 a.m. to the 9200 block of Old Santa Fe Road, where they found an unconscious man lying face down in about 6 to 8 inches of water, according to Michael Hopkins, a spokesman for the Kansas City Fire Department.

Firefighters entered the sewer drain and put a respirator on the man, who was evaluated and didn’t have a pulse. Crews secured a rope around the man, removed him from the sewer and began CPR.

Click to resize

He was transported to a hospital and is in critical condition, but alive and breathing on his own.

The man is an employee of a company that was installing new sewer drains in the area, Hopkins said. Fire officials didn’t have further information on the man’s employer.

After the man was removed from the sewer, a hazmat team member evaluated the air. While they found no significant toxic substances, oxygen levels in the air were low.

Atmospheric oxygen levels measured at 11%, compared to a normal value of 21%. Levels below 19% are considered dangerous, Hopkins said.

The fire department is investigating the incident.

Profile Image of Andrea Klick

Andrea Klick is a breaking news reporter for The Kansas City Star. She studied journalism and political science at the University of Southern California and grew up near Allentown, Pennsylvania.