An 8-year-old boy identified only as Joe, who had been missing for more than a week, was found alive in a storm drain near his parents' house in the city of Oldenburg, Germany.

The boy reportedly went missing on June 17, prompting a massive search that included local hunting associations. The police were unable to find any clues and had asked people to share any information they could.

Fortunately, a 43-year-old passer-by called the police, telling them he had heard a faint whimpering sound coming from a storm sewer early Saturday. The manhole was located just 65 feet from his parents' house.

Officials from the fire department and police officers rushed to the scene. A fireman then climbed down the manhole and pulled the boy out of the storm drain sewer.

"I saw how the boy was carefully pulled out of the hole; a helper calmed him down. I didn't know it was Joe. He looked unharmed. I can't believe he was in there and alive," an eyewitness told local publications.

Joe is currently undergoing treatment at a local hospital. "The boy was hypothermic, but responsive. He has no major injuries, there was no danger to his life," said Police spokesperson Stephan Klatte.

"I'm very impressed by the great commitment over the past few days. I would like to thank all the full-time and voluntary workers and people who did everything with empathy and a high level of personal commitment - until late at night - to find a missing child," he added.

The police are still trying to investigate how the boy, who reportedly suffers from a slight mental development disorder, managed to survive in the storm drain for so long. The drain is also being examined in a bid to understand how Joe managed to survive there for eight days.

"The most important thing is that he is alive and was immediately taken to a hospital where he is in good hands. We can all breathe a sigh of relief," added police chief Johann Kuehme.

German police
German police (file photo) Johannes Simon/Getty Images