Known as “Baseball Mike,” Michael Anthony Maggiacomo enjoys playing catch on the roof of a Heald College Plaza parking garage in Honolulu.
But he doesn’t enjoy losing his baseballs in a narrow gap between the parking garage and a Walgreens pharmacy next door. So when his sixth ball fell into the gap on Friday, he decided to go down after it – even though the walls narrow to a 9-inch space near the ground, reported KHON.
“I saw that it was skinny at the bottom but I’m skinny, very skinny,” Maggiacomo told the station. The 55-year-old man, who is homeless, worked his way down the gap, but things quickly turned tricky.
“That’s when I learned that, ‘uh oh,’ but hey I’m down here to get the baseballs, so go a little lower, go a little lower,” Maggiacomo said. “I just didn’t think I wasn’t coming back out of that hole period.”
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More than 20 Honolulu firefighters spent three hours working with saws, drills and jackhammers to free Maggiacomo, reported KGMB. The rescue attracted a large crowd of onlookers.
“My friend told me that some guy was stuck between two walls, and I didn’t believe him at first,” Kekoa Roberts told the station. “I was like, how do you get stuck in between two walls?”
Passersby heard Maggiacomo calling for help and alerted authorities, reported the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Firefighters initially tried lowering a cable to Maggiacomo, but he was unable to grab it. They eventually used concrete-cutting saws to break through a wall beneath him.
“It started as a tile wall and then a full concrete slab and then supported with rebar,” Capt. Albert Mccollum of the Honolulu Fire Department told KGMB. “We had to cut through all that to get to his location.”
Maggiacomo was taken to a hospital in serious condition but told KHON he has no major injuries and is recovering from the ordeal.