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Man-in-manhole teen hero recognized

Posted at 9:09 PM, Nov 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-14 23:25:02-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The principal of Haas Middle School, where a man seeking shelter from the cold got stuck in a manhole Tuesday night, is recognizing the student who heard the man's cries and got him help.

"We're so proud of Carlos for doing the right thing," Principal Anna Fuentes said.

Carlos Cabrera, a 13-year-old seventh grader, heard a man's voice while walking to school Wednesday morning but had a hard time figuring out where it was coming from.

"I thought it was coming from the cafeteria, but I got more over (towards the manhole) and it was in there," Cabrera said.

Cabrera ran and told a teacher who alerted the school resource officer, Orlando Sanchez. He radioed for help from firefighters and an ambulance crew and then turned his attention towards the manhole.

"As I got closer to the manhole I started hearing the voices even louder," Officer Sanchez said. "I was able to remove the manhole cover, and there was a gentleman in there about waist high in sewage."

Sanchez and three firefighters were able to lift the man out of the sewer, and an ambulance took him to the hospital with a possible case of hypothermia. His current condition isn't known.

This morning at Haas Middle School, Principal Fuentes presented Cabrera with a certificate.

"In recognition for the display of responsiveness award this certificate of excellence to Carlos Cabrera in appreciation for alerting authorities and displaying compassion for someone in need," the certificate reads.

As administrators praise Cabrera, his classmates are taking notice as well.

"They just congratulate me," Cabrera said. "(They say), 'Dang, you saved that man's life and stuff."

Officer Sanchez says that's no exaggeration.

"He did a good job," he said. "(Cabrera) saved a life that day."