CHICAGO (CBS) — She rescues dogs, but a suburban woman ended up needing to be rescued herself after being trapped for hours inside a sewer.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports from Addison with incredible video you’ll see only on 2.
She started her search for Shelby at a storm drain after seeing paw prints. What she didn’t know is she’d be underground for nearly three hours, doing an army crawl trying to find her way out, after her flashlight batteries died.
Video shows the Addison Fire Protection District arriving at a storm grate to rescue dog lover Kris Bylica. First you see her drenched jacket emerge from the area once covered by the storm grate. Then, you see them lift Bylica, to safety.
“I was really lucky that I didn’t die down there,” Bylica said.
Bylica had been searching inside the storm sewer for seven month old Shelby. The shepherd hound mix was in Bylica’s care as part of her volunteer work with Kentucky Mutts and Rescue. The puppy jumped a five-foot fence and had been missing for more than a week.
Bylica and a team of volunteers searched the community on foot. When Bylica entered this storm drain on Saturday, after seeing paw prints, she didn’t find Shelby, but instead, endured a very harrowing experience, as the water around her started getting higher.
“It started raising, over six inches and it was starting to cover most of my body,” Bylica said.
The signal on her phone was going in and out. Her flashlight died. When she finally got here, she was able to lift her phone up to the grate and get a signal. She texted members of the dog rescue team, who called 911.
Bylica pushed a blue leash through a grate opening, so the five firefighters would know where to find her. She expressed her gratitude when reuniting with Battalion Chief Chris Mansfield, who was part of the team, that rescued her.
Ironically, firefighters had just done storm drain rescue training just hours before the call came in to rescue Bylica.
Shelby was last seen at 5:00 Sunday afternoon on the east side of 355, south of Army Trail Rd. Shelby was supposed to go to Minnesota to be with a family that had just adopted her.
If you see her, Bylica’s phone number is 773-960-5128.