Australian freed from drain after 30 hours hiding from police

By Hannah Ritchie in Sydney

An Australian man has been freed after spending more than 30 hours in an underground drain network.

The 38-year-old originally told authorities he had entered the drain in Brisbane to “retrieve his phone”.

But Queensland police said he had “fled” there, after his car crashed into one of their vehicles on Sunday.

The man was rescued after a passerby phoned authorities to report that someone was “stuck” underground. He was treated for abrasions and hypothermia.

Local media reported the man had been in knee-deep water before firefighters lifted a drain lid, allowing him to climb out.

The rescue effort took about five minutes, a Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson told the BBC.

Local resident James Lingwood – who made the call to authorities – told the Courier Mail newspaper that he first encountered the man on Sunday after hearing a voice “sort of yelling”.

“He seemed to be okay, and he said he could get out where he got in so I just left him alone,” he told the newspaper.

By Monday though, when he returned to the same spot, he decided to act after hearing “heavy breathing” indicating “someone was in distress”.

On Tuesday, police said the man had been driving a “suspicious” car that reversed and struck a police vehicle around 4.20am (local time) on Sunday, causing damage to both cars. No police officers were injured.

His car then sped off before being involved in a second crash, which caused “minor injuries” to the other driver, they said.

Moments later, the suspect allegedly abruptly exited the car and ran from the scene on foot.

“It’s amazing what people will do sometimes and what happens, so yes, there’s always surprises,” acting police commissioner Steve Gollschewski told media on Tuesday, when asked about the case.

Police say the man – who is in a stable condition – is now assisting them with their enquiries.

– This story was first published by the BBC.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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