both good and bad use sewer to escape their fate

On January 13, 2009 newspapers headlined: Mafia killer gives police the slip! Italian police were about to arrest a maffia boss, but the crook managed to escape through the sewers. Under his bed they found a hatch with a secret passage to the sewer. It for sure is not the first time people are using the sewer to get to safer ground, and it won’t be the last either. History has many examples of escapes through the dark channels that lie underneath.

Cold War

During the Cold War, many people were trying to escape from East to West Berlin. An odyssey that didn’t end well for many. Most sewers on the border were protected by sturdy fences and many escape attempts failed as a result. But there were successes also. Beginning October 1961 a large number of people made it to safety through the sewer. What a thrilling operation that was! Students from West Berlin first drilled holes in the fences. Then the whole route had to be mapped before the riskful operation could begin. Eventually they escaped via an underground of 800 meters long. The route stayed unnoticed for several weeks giving many people the opportunity to flee to the West.

Escaped from prison

Prison escapes make for thrilling stories that are often movie worthy. And all too often the sewage system plays a starring role. In 2011, 35 prisoners escaped through a sewer pipe from an Iraqi prison. In 2010, four Sudanese men that were said to have killed US diplomats, made a similar move. The four crawled through a sewage pipe leading them to the open road. The list of sewer escapes is humongous. Throughout the centuries various measures have been implemented in the Netherlands to prevent another ‘great sewer escape’. Fleeing through the sewers underneath the Prison of The Hague has therefore been nearly impossible since the 18th century. During that time, new privies (toilets) were placed within the walls of the detention center and all drains were overvaulted. As a result it was much more difficult for prisoners to make a run for freedom through the sewer system.

Lives saved

The sewer has also saved many lives. During World War II a large group of Jews were hiding in a stinking sewer under the city in the ghetto of Lwów (Lviv, now Ukraine). For months they remained underground to escape the Nazis. The only help they received came from sewer maintenance workers. After fourteen months of hardship, they were liberated by the Russians. The movie based on this story; ‘In Darkness’, was nominated for an Oscar 2012.


photo via: Rioned, Fibercam+

Tour de force

It’s not easy to find your way through the sewers. Rioned knows that better than anyone. It's pitch black down there and you can encounter the strangest obstacles. Fortunately, Rioned offers great solutions that help you navigate the dark world underground. Useful inspection systems with advanced cameras like FiberCam + show clearly what is happening down the drains. This makes personally descending into the sewer often unnecessary.

At Rioned we say: don’t take risks if you don’t need to - let us help you stay safe!

Picture: In Darkness, source vpro