An eight-year-old boy has been found alive after he went missing and survived for eight days inside a sewer system in northwestern Germany.
The boy, who is being named only as Joe, went missing from his family home in Oldenburg on June 17, reports the BBC.
His disappearance sparked a huge search effort, and search parties spent days looking for him in vain.
On June 25, a pedestrian contacted local police after they heard noises coming from a manhole just 300 metres from the boy’s home, reports EuroNews.
Police broke the news by tweeting: “Eight-year-old Joe lives!”
In a press release, the police said they believe Joe crawled through a metre-wide drain pipe near his home into the rainwater sewer system and quickly became disoriented.
When they found the boy he was completely undressed and suffering from severe hypothermia and dehydration from his eight-day ordeal, but not seriously injured.
He was taken to hospital for treatment and evaluation.
“From the point of view of the police, it can now be assumed that Joe increasingly lost his bearings in the system and could no longer find an exit,” the translated statement reads. Police also confirmed that Joe told them he’d climbed into the system himself and that they have ruled out foul play.
After searching the sewage system, police were able to locate the boy’s clothes. It remains unclear why the boy removed them.
At one point, officers began a homicide investigation after receiving a false tip that the boy had been seen in the company of an unknown person.