The unidentified woman, believed to be in her 40s, was found naked and trapped in a storm drain in Delray Beach. Someone passing by heard her cries for help and called 911, officials said.
Firefighters responded and removed the storm grate, lowered down a ladder and lifted the woman to safety.
“She was unable to stand up,” Delray Beach Fire Rescue spokeswoman Dani Moschella told WPLG. “She didn’t have any clothes on. She was very dirty. She had some superficial wounds. Her knees were all scraped up.”
It’s still unclear how the woman ended up in the storm drain or how long she had been down there. It’s impossible for an adult to fit through the entrance, Moschella said.
“She claims that she’s been in the storm drain for a significant amount of time,” Delray Beach Police spokesman Ted White told the Sun-Sentinel. “The biggest question is how long she has been in there, how did she get in there and why?”
Officials said the woman was reported missing to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office on March 3. No foul play is suspected.
“From the police department standpoint, we don’t believe there was any type of crime committed,” White said. “It doesn’t feel like she was taken against her will. It appears this was done by her own free will.”
“She was lucky,” Moschella said. “I don’t know how much longer she would have been OK down there. The idea that somebody might be down there for any length of time is disturbing. It’s dirty, dangerous, there’s snakes, rats, garbage, dirt and leaves, anything that’s on the street that washes into a sewer, and it smells terrible.”
Paramedics evaluated the woman before she was taken to Delray Medical Center. Her condition was not disclosed.