MASSILLON, Ohio — Five Ohio teens are lucky to be alive after being swept away by rushing water and becoming trapped in a sewer tunnel.
Officer Aaron Franklin was first on scene. His body camera recorded him trying to get close. It was his first water rescue.
"It's obviously a treacherous down slope. Everything is wet, including the slate rocks that are down here," Franklin told CNN.
Franklin spotted two boys near the mouth of the tunnel and, with help from the fire department, he managed to get both out, but they told Franklin that there were three more boys still stuck inside.
"There's no way of knowing how far down there they are," Franklin said. "I know it's pitch black. Just looking at it, I can see that the water is rushing. I knew that tunnel continued down for approximately a mile and subsequently let out at the Tuscaloosa River."
With Franklin holding onto him, Massillon's fire chief went down to search. Soon, rescuers felt the weight of one boy on the line. Then, they felt the weight of another.
"There's five, six grown men tugging, pulling as hard as they can. Pulling a 120-pound teen and it felt like we were pulling a truck," Franklin said.
Word eventually came that the third missing friend had made it out, too.
Trever Gallion was pushed farthest through the tunnel.
"I was trying to stand up and fight my way out, and then eventually, I realized I couldn't stand up towards the water and so, I just, l let it take me."
A second team of rescuers found him clinging to a ladder.
"One of the police officers told me there is a grate at the end of the tunnel and he said if he would have made it down there, you probably wouldn't have brought your son home," said his mother, Misty Blile.
Franklin said he was just in the right place at the right time.
"Anybody that would be put in the situation that's in this line of work, they have an obligation to do so and we're gonna do it."
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