SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) _ A man dived into an uncovered, bubbling grease trap Monday to rescue a 5-year-old boy. The child was hospitalized in critical condition.

Jaiprakash Patel said he dived into the circular drain, which is about 2 feet across, next to a Chinese restaurant after hearing cries that a child had fallen in. The pit holds the restaurant's discarded cooking oil.

``The first time I went in, I couldn't find anyone,'' Patel said. ``Someone said, `Someone is still in there,' so I yelled, `Someone hold my legs.'

``I went in again, and was moving my arm around. I found a leg and grabbed hold of it tight. I was yelling `Pull me up!' They pulled me up fast.''

Nil A. Roy was unconscious when he was pulled from the pit, The Times of Shreveport reported. The boy remained in critical condition Monday at the Schumpert Medical Center emergency room.

Patel was among more than two dozen people attending a private New Year's Day party at the restaurant. The guests included the child's parents, Dr. Anand Roy and his wife, Taruna.

``Why was that gutter open?'' Roy said. ``Why was there no lid on that? He fell right in there.

``I don't know how it happened, or how long he was in there. Jaiprakash Patel did the bravest thing, to jump in there and pull him out.''

Firefighters believe the child was one of a group of children playing around the drain. The Fire Department was investigating how he fell in.

Gary Patel, another party guest, had tried to reach the child before Jaiprakash Patel finally jumped into the trap.

``I heard the bubbling, but I could not reach him,'' Gary Patel said.