Worker rescued from collapsed trench

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- WREG cameras captured the dramatic scene of rescue crews pulling a man to safety after a five-foot trench caved in on top of him.

Kenneth Chalmers works for MLGW and was a few houses down working on a fire hydrant at the time of the accident.

He said, "A minute felt like an hour, but thank god he made it"

Chalmers said he heard screams coming from the construction site, and came running.

"When he started hollering for help, I ran to go get him and he was covered up about halfway, so I called 911."

It took 30 rescue workers more than 30 minutes to pull the man to safety. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The 36-year-old's condition was later upgraded to non-critical.

Lieutenant Wayne Cook of the Memphis Fire Department said, "We are not sure  what his internal injuries are, not many visible from the outside."

MLGW crews say when you're working on a project like this, you need to make sure the edges are shored up. They're afraid the edges may not have been in this project, and that may have been what caused this tragic accident.

Witnesses say they thought about digging him out, but they knew it would take professional help to get him out safely.

"He kept saying he wanted to get out but I couldn't move the dirt I told the guy don't touch anything in weekly emergency people get here," said Chalmers.

The head contractor from Reasonable Plumbing had no comment about the accident today.

His team wrapped up work for the day and cleared the scene within an hour. Firefighters tell us they will investigate the scene before work continues.


  • Don

    If the ditch had slopes, there wouldn’t have no problem with working in the ditch.
    Myself, I would have a problem with working in a ditch 5 ft deep without slopes.
    Workers need to know when to say no.
    Any contractor should know how a ditch that deep should be sloped or shored up for safety.

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