Crawling six feet underground through a two-and-a-half-foot diameter sewer pipe, Eliezer Garcia was determined to save seven ducklings that had fallen in the sewer system.
“I felt fearless,” said Garcia, a plumber at Miami Dade College Kendall Campus’ maintenance department. “I know there could be alligators and such in the sewer, but I just wanted to get [the ducklings] out of there.”
According to Public Safety Officer David O’Brien, on Feb. 3 a couple of MDC students had reported hearing the cries of ducklings in the drain at around 4 p.m.
Soon after receiving the call, O’Brien notified Rick Branam, Kendall Campus’ maintenance supervisor.
And the duck rescue mission began.
Garcia and his co-worker Cameron Powell arrived to find the group standing above a hand hole in parking lot 2.
“I was at Homestead Campus when I got the call, so I called on Eliezer and Cameron to see what they could do and they offered to volunteer,” Branam said.
One student had his head in the hand hole attempting to save the ducklings, according to Powell
“I could tell that secretly no one wanted to go in the hole,” Garcia said.
Garcia and Powell cleared the students from the scene and proceeded across parking lot 2 and opened a manhole, which weighs about 75 pounds and requires a crowbar and two people to pry it open.
Garcia, who said he is familiar with wildlife, lowered himself inside the sewer system and began his hour-long hunt to safely capture the ducklings.
“Eliezer has rescued all kinds of things,” Powell said. “He’s captured and moved a turtle out of the street, caught an iguana and pigeons. And with no light, bugs, cockroaches and possibly alligators in the sewer system he went in anyways.”
After crawling through the sewer system with his knees against the walls of the tunnel and his hands searching for his target, Garcia was able to gather all seven ducklings and collect them in a grey bucket.
“While we gathered the ducklings, security located the mom [duck] near the small pond by parking lot 5,” Powell said.
Triumphantly, Garcia and Powell proceeded to take the ducklings and safely deliver them to their mother.
“[Garcia and Powell] are the best employees I have,” Branam said. “They are always unselfish and always willing to help others. I wish I had more like them.”
The ducklings and their mother were last seen swimming in the pond by parking lot 5.