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Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 | 9:18 p.m.
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Updated: 9:16 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 | Posted: 8:14 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013
GASTONIA, N.C. —
A man spent 12 hours trapped inside a manhole, 10 feet underground.
Rescue crews pulled him to safety after he spent the night in cold temperatures.
The 66-year-old fell into the manhole along East Long Street in Gastonia on Wednesday night.
Ivory Floyd, the man who called for help, yelled words of encouragement to the man who was trapped.
"Hey Ron, hang in there buddy,” he said.
After 12 hours of being trapped, crews finally rescued the man.
Floyd believes a higher power made him walk a different way to work Thursday morning.
“The spirit of the Lord said, 'Don't go that way to work today. Go this way,’” Floyd said. "I just heard a voice say, 'Help me. Help me.’”
He said he heard a man who identified himself as Ronald Irvin at the bottom of a wet sewer drain.
Floyd believes the man broke his leg when he jumped a concrete barrier Wednesday night. He didn't know there was an open manhole on the other side.
“I believe God sent me there to save that man's life,” Floyd said.
When firefighters and medics arrived, they found the man injured and weak after a chilly night.
“It’s just a testament to his willpower to be able to stay alert,” said Eric Wright with the Gastonia Fire Department.
Eyewitness News asked Gastonia's Public Works director why the manhole was uncovered. He believes thieves stole it to get money for the recycled metal.
“We do check our system regularly, but it's impossible to check (them) all, all the time,” said Matt Bernhardt, the director of Public Works.
Fifty manhole covers have been stolen so far this year in Gastonia.
“We want to make sure there aren't any others, so this doesn't happen again,” Bernhardt said.
Crews covered the one along East Long Street with concrete. It will stay like that until they can get a replacement cover.
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