(CNN) — An 8-year-old boy was found alive in a sewer eight days after he went missing in Oldenburg, northwestern Germany.
The boy, identified by authorities only as Joe, was reported missing on the afternoon of June 17.
Joe was eventually pulled from the drainage system after a passerby in the area heard noises coming from a manhole cover early Saturday morning and alerted emergency services, the Oldenburg Police Department said Tuesday. -Stadt / Ammerland in a statement.
Joe was found about 300 meters from his home and taken to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia and dehydration.
Police said they did not believe anyone else was involved in the incident.
An initial police report described Joe as having a learning disability. While the search was going on, they said he could misread it as a game and stay in hiding.
Joe’s last name has not been made public, in accordance with German privacy laws.
Immediately after the rescue, investigators began combing the drainage system for clues to her disappearance.
Authorities concluded that Joe most likely got into a concrete drainage pipe while playing, then crawled into the drainage system through a channel and was lost after several meters.
Investigators said that between the entrance to the drainage system and where Joe was found, there are drainage manholes and crossings at regular intervals that he was able to stand on.
Joe told police in an opening statement that he became increasingly disoriented while stuck in the drainage system and was unable to find his way out.
“We are very happy … really,” police spokesman Stephan Klatte said, according to CNN affiliate N-TV.
“It’s absolutely lucky. Of course, there was a possibility that we didn’t find the child there. Possibly … if he hadn’t made any noise or if those noises hadn’t been heard, we might not have found him there,” Klatte added.