Manhole Mystery Solved in Downtown El Paso

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POSTED: Monday, July 25, 2011 - 5:13pm

UPDATED: Sunday, July 31, 2011 - 1:51am

EL PASO – The sight was astonishing: dozens of muddy footprints coming from a manhole on a sidewalk near the U.S./Mexico Border in Downtown El Paso.

A photographer who works at a nearby art studio sent NewsChannel 9 pictures of the bizarre scene, so we could investigate. As you can see, the muddy shoe prints lead in different directions across Paisano Drive near Durango Street and into the the Downtown area.

The big question on everyone's mind was who made them. After some investigating, a spokesman for the Border Patrol says the footprints were made two weeks ago by migrants from Mexico who crossed the border using drainage tunnels under the city. In all, 21 people came out through the one manhole.

The Border Patrol says camera technology helped agents capture all of the migrants the same day. Illegally crossing into the U.S. through drainage tunnels and manholes isn't uncommon, but it is very dangerous.

That's why the El Paso Fire Department has a team dedicated to saving people from confined spaces, like a sewer.

"As a matter of fact, last month we had an incident where our team pulled out a person from a sewer Downtown," said Alejandro Rodriguez, with the El Paso Fire Deparment.

In this case it's almost hard to image how 21 people managed to navigate the dark, underground network of drainage tunnels to emerge through a tiny manhole. Because many times, they never make it.

"If they're coming in from across the border they're probably malnourished or exhausted," said Rodriguez.

And the city had taken steps to keep it from happening again. The manhole the 21 people came though has since been welded shut.

Comments News Comments

Welding the manhole is about the dummest solution ever to hit El Paso. Talk about stupid. I have 3 solutions to that problem unfortunately I cannot disclose these solutions. All these people do is do and sell drugs. They don't know how to work and or take intructions. They say they know how to do everything but they don't anything correctly.

Did'nt President Obama suggest we put alligators in the moat a few months ago. Why not take him on his word? He is the President, right?

Is it just me, or is the city's solution the most moronic thing imaginable? Are they going to start welding ALL manhole covers closed? That way they can't go to another one and get out. I realize that immigration, be it legal or not, is a tough subject, but are they trying to see how far these people can get before they die, or just waste taxpayer money to rescue people that get trapped because of such a pathetic solution.

I don't care that they've sealed the manhole cover. What does that do for you - make people go to another one? If we have people trained to help people stuck in them, then that means we have people trained to go seal off the entry point. It's typical that we do something about where they come out but not where they come in. And it's frustrating that you call them "migrants" when they are in fact "illegal trespassers/almost residents."

Weld the manhole covers shut. Well, hello dumby. What do you think they are used for, there is a purpose for them. The city workers need to enter and exit sewers. They are suppose to have access. Only this local culture would come up with that solution. The solution is as simple as a lock and key from outside. It's solutions like this that gives El Paso a bad reputation as a town full of really stupid Mexicans. I know it's not true, but a story like this, seems to prove otherwise.

Why does the audio on KTSM web videos always lag

Rats coming out of the sewers

That looks really funny!

Remember your american name is Bob and there is a job waiting for you with the city under construction or maintenance. If not then buy an old chevy or ford truck with tools from a pawn shop to do landscaping. Don't worry about being caught cuz the city is a santuary for illegal immigrants. Now go and stay with your primo y familia. Don't worry your wife and daughter will get jobs at a call center and you will get free goverment money if you fill these forms out. Vaminous Muchacho!!!

Thats my creative story of the myster

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