Man recovers, faces charges after rescue from pipe in Manalapan

Firefighters and rescue technicians have freed a man who was trapped in a 20-inch pipe at a United Water facility in Manalapan.

MANALAPAN TOWNSHIP - Firefighters and rescue technicians have freed a man who was trapped in a 20-inch pipe at a United Water facility in Manalapan.

Authorities identified the man as 26-year-old township resident Asaf Mohammed.

A United Water spokesperson says workers heard cries for help coming from a pipe inside the treatment facility at around 7 a.m. today. It's believed that Mohammed jumped a fence into the property on Conner Road and climbed into the pipe, although it's unclear why.

Officials said sections of the pipe were removed and heat was pumped in.

"It was very difficult in the beginning because we had no idea how far along he was," Manalapan Assistant Fire Chief Ken Genieczko says. "We had scopes, cameras going into the pipe to see where he was, we had communication with him, so we had an idea of his condition."

After maneuvering past two 9-degree bends, Mohammed was finally freed from the pipe at around 11 a.m. He was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where he's in fair condition.

The incident did not affect water quality or supply, according to the utility company.

Two specialized technical search and rescue teams were called to help at the scene, including New Jersey Task Force 1 and Middlesex County Urban Search and Rescue. Firefighters from Manalapan and Monroe Township were also on the scene.

Mohammed was arrested and charged with fourth-degree criminal trespass, but officials say he could also be required to repay the cost of the rescue.

For extended video of the rescue, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612. 

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