Construction worker rescued from hole - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Construction worker rescued from hole

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Emergency responders have rescued a worker who fell into a construction hole. The accident happened on Diamond Avenue in South Bend north of Lincolnway West. The worker was trapped for over four hours.

He was seven to eight feet below the street surface and buried to his chest in sand.

Crews were manually trying to dig the man out. They dug a larger hole around him to shift the soil surrounding him. A vacuum truck was brought in as well.

South Bend Fire Chief Steve Cox said that it is still unknown how the man fell into the hole, but he is in stable condition. He is being transported to an area hospital.

The man and his crew had been working on a sewer line on Diamond Avenue when he got stuck.  When he couldn't get out, the South Bend Fire Department was called.  Fire Chief Steve Cox says there were several factors making it difficult to get the man out.  "because of the nature of the earth in that spot we're nervous about the hole caving in further and creating a worse situation."

Crews were unable to use heavy equipment to rescue the man because the vibrations could cause a cave in.  The whole rescue was done manually.  "That process takes an unbelievable amount of time to do it safely," said Cox.

So what exactly is that process?  "The key for us was to get people down in there and slowly and very methodically basically shore up the areas where the hole was and where the patient was contained to and we were able to remove the dirt a little bit at a time," said Cox.

They used pieces of wood to prevent more dirt from getting in the hole.  This kind of rescue is something Cox said they're trained for but they don't do very often.  "A rescue of this nature may happen once every couple of years."

No responders were hurt during the rescue.  And the man who was trapped was not hurt at all while he was brought to safety.

The City&Public Works will be sealing the hole. Diamond was already closed off for construction, so traffic was not affected by the accident .


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