Trapped worker rescued, taken to hospital

A construction worker was rescued after being buried up to his neck when a trench collapsed during a sewer repair in east Edmonton.

Five major emergency crews were called to the alley behind 104A Avenue near 42 Street before 3 p.m. Thursday and freed the man nearly three hours later.

The victim fell into the trench after the shoring around the hole collapsed, burying him under sand and rubble.

“He had a lot of pressure from debris all around the patient and you know obviously it’s going to be hard to breathe, he managed to stay calm the entire time and our guys reassured him,” Station Captain Kevin Tarkowski said.

Edmonton Fire Rescue’s technical rescue team was leading the rescue and had the equipment and training to handle situations such as this one, District Chief Todd Weiss told CTV.

Fire crews said the sand collapsed similarly to an avalanche, making the process of digging him out incredibly tedious, adding that when they arrived on scene the situation didn’t look good.

“Unfortunately as they dug he was sinking a little bit further so it was just a really slow process of stabilizing,” Tarkowski said.

Officials called the outcome “ideal” adding that the teamwork from emergency crews and construction workers was essential in getting him out safely.

“This is why we do this job, we‘re here to help everybody obviously and it doesn’t always work out this way, this is our pat on the back. This is why we’re here” Tarkowski added.

The man was taken to hospital by ambulance, conscious and speaking.

Occupational Health and Safety is conducting an investigation into the incident.

With files from Bill Fortier…