Worker Buried Up to Chest in Soil at NYC Construction Site Rescued

Firefighters rescued a construction worker who was buried up to his chest in soil when a trench collapsed at a site in downtown Manhattan Wednesday evening, the FDNY said.

The worker was in a pit at a Grand Street site on the Lower East Side when the trench was hit with a pipe and it collapsed, burying the worker up to the chest in soil and rocks, according to FDNY Assistant Chief James Daly. 

He had been down in the pit about 10 to 12 feet for about an hour when the side wall collapsed, Daly said. Colleagues were able to get his head and torso out before rescuers arrived. 

Special command units trained for trench rescue were brought in, said Daly. Pneumatic jacks were used to stabilize the trench, and a compressor truck broke up the soil as a vacuum truck sucked up the dirt. 

Medics hooked up the worker to an IV while he was inside the trench, and gave him pain medication as he waited to be pulled up, according to Daly. 

Chopper 4 over the scene showed dozens of firefighters with a ladder unit retrieving the worker from the soil pit. He was put on a flatbed stretcher, then put on an FDNY ambulance.

He was in critical but stable condition, Daly said. 

A crew had been working on an underground pipe leak at the site, Daly said. 

-- Michael George contributed to this report. 

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