Trench Rescue

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

July 25, 2006

A man recovered Tuesday from a harrowing experience when a trench collapsed. The trench stretches eight feet into the ground at the foundation of a house. Rescues say the end result could have been much worse.

Just after 10:30 Friday morning, fire and EMS personnel were called to a home in the 500 block of Kellogg Drive for a man trapped in a trench.
"The victim was working in that ditch [when] the bottom portion of the ditch collapsed trapping him from the waist down," said CARS Operation Chief Benjamin Sojka.

Emergency responders quickly got to the scene and began digging frantically, attempting to free the trapped victim. It took about 25 minutes before the victim was freed enough to pull him out of the hole.
He was transported to UVa medical center for treatment.

"He had been trapped in dirt from the waist down. That is a large amount of pressure involved so that is a concern and that is what the physicians will most likely be looking for," said Sojka.

Almost immediately, the Albemarle County Fire Marshall began the initial investigation into the cause of the accident.

"We just document what happened and document any physical findings that are present and then make notifications to the appropriate agencies," said Fire Marshall James Barber.

The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Agency will determine the cause of the accident. Even though the victim was injured, Barber said this could have been much worse. "This one ended better than it sounded like."

Friday evening, the 22-year-old victim, David Walker, was released from the hospital. He sustained no broken bones or internal injuries.
An exact determination on the cause of the accident could take up to six months. If VOSHA determines there were unsafe working conditions, the company could face citations or other penalties.

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