2 Trapped Workers Pulled From Collapsed Trench in Westchester

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    Two construction workers repairing a leak in the foundation of a Westchester home became trapped when a trench collapsed and trapped them 4 to 5 feet below ground for more than an hour, officials said. Lori Bordonaro has more (Published Thursday, July 31, 2014)

    Two construction workers repairing a leak in the foundation of a Westchester home were trapped for more than an hour Thursday when a trench collapsed and buried them in 4 to 5 feet of dirt, officials said. 

    The workers, 31-year-old Louis Zacaraias and 26-year-old Erick Leon, both of Port Chester, were working on a home on Bradford Avenue in Rye when the walls collapsed just after 11 a.m. 

    "You saw a pile of dust, that was it. Then just heard people screaming," said Jeremy Thunberg, who was walking by when the trench collapsed. 

    "Neighbors were coming to help, everybody was trying to get help. No one could get to them at this point," he said. 

    The workers were buried up to their chest in dirt for more than an hour as firefighters worked to rescue them. They received oxygen throughout the rescue operation. 

    "One was clearly in pain, the other was certainly uncomfortable," said Rye Fire Lt. Kurt Tietjen. "They clearly wanted out of that hole as fast as possible." 

    Police and firefighters had to call in specialized trucks usually used to vacuum sewers to loosen and suck the dirt out of the hole to relieve the pressure in the trench, said Tietjen. 

    Once the pressure was off, the two men were hauled out with ropes. They were both conscious and alert as they were taken away in an ambulance, officials said. 

    The men were being treated for minor injuries and are expected to be OK. It's not clear what caused the trench collapse, and the people living in the home declined to speak Thursday.