5 Trapped in Border Tunnel Filled with Sewage

The secret border tunnel is believed to connect Mexico to Otay Mesa, a distance of 150 meters

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCSanDiego
    A woman covered in mud and dirt is pulled from the tunnel early Wednesday.

    Five people were trapped in a tunnel near the U.S.-Mexico border and had to be rescued early Wednesday.

    The four men and one woman were discovered inside the tunnel partly filled with sewage in Otay Mesa. The tunnel is believed to lead to Mexico, which is about 150 meters away.

    The five were trapped at a point in the tunnel where a fence made it impossible to get through to the U.S.

    U.S. Border Patrol agents used a dog to find the opening in the 9800 block of Via De La Amistad behind a company called Artic Containers.

    Agents believe a manhole on the Mexican side is the entrance.

    San Diego and Chula Vista firefighters worked for about 45 minutes to dig out the trapped victims, bringing them out one by one.

    They then hosed down each person because of their exposure to sewage. The men were stripped to their underwear. The woman was taken behind a tarp where she was hosed off.

    All the victims were healthy without any physical injuries, according to Border Patrol.

    A robot was sent into the hole to investigate, but it got stuck according to officials.

    Border tunnels are not new to the Tijuana-San Diego region. In November 2010, a tunnel running 600 yards under the border was discovered along with nearly 30 tons of pot.

    Soon after, a second tunnel was discovered equipped with lighting, ventilation, and a rail system for drugs to be carried on a small cart.

    U.S. authorities have discovered more than 125 clandestine tunnels along the Mexican border since the early 1990s, though many were crude and incomplete.