One person is dead at the scene of a trench rescue underway on Dixie Highway. After hours of recovery work by rescue crews, the second man has been extricated from the collapsed trench.
The report was received shortly after after 2:30 Thursday afternoon. Teams from seven different fire stations are on scene as the rescue progresses in the 13000 block of Dixie Highway, between Pendleton Road and Watson Lane.
Assistant PRP Fire Chief Dan Vanover said that he estimated the trench in which the two men were trapped was approximately 8 to 10 feet deep. He went on to say that the surviving man was covered with debris up to his waist, but that he was conscious, communicating with rescue workers, and even helping to remove some of the debris that was trapping him. The two men were working for a contractor to install sewer lines in the area.
One area resident told us that crews have been working to install the sewer lines in anticipation of the building of a discount store and pharmacy nearby. He also said that the club in front of the collapsed trench had notified some of their employees that they would not be opening for business today, as crews were expected to be on scene as late as midnight. However, when we spoke with Vanover, he told us that he expected that crews were 30-45 minutes from extricating the trapped individual. That individual was rescued from the collapsed trench just before 7PM.
On several occasions, radio traffic indicated that the news helicopters circling the area to provide coverage were not adhering to the five mile radius “no fly zone” that the authorities were asking for. Concerns were that the vibrations from the low-flying aircraft could potentially cause vibrations that would worsen the collapsed area.
Although the exact cause of the collapse has not been determined, Vanover went on to explain that the “spoil pile” – material that had been removed from the trench – had sloughed off, falling back into the trench and trapping the men.
Additional photos (19:00)