Construction workers were working in a 20-foot long U-shaped trench when a collapse trapped two workers Thursday afternoon. The construction site involved a water treatment project in the Pacific Palisades area. The collapse buried one worker up to his knees and a second up to his chest. Emergency crews rushed to the Pacific Palisades construction site and began a rescue effort.
One worker was rescued within about one hour. That worker was airlifted to an area hospital and authorities say that first accident victim had good vital signs. The second worker was buried more deeply from the construction site accident. Fire officials say that the accident victim was unconscious when emergency crews arrived.
Authorities say that about 75 firefighters were dispatched to engage in the rescue effort. Unfortunately, the man was buried too deeply and authorities say that the man died before crews could free him from the collapsed trench.
Crews continued working as the tragedy turned from a rescue effort to a recovery operation. The unstable site required that the operation be handled delicately. Paramedics and firefighters, including members of the Urban Search and Rescue Team worked diligently in efforts to free the injured worker.
However, the crews were not able to free the man before he succumbed to his injuries. The recovery effort was completed about nine hours after the accident was reported around 1:35 Thursday afternoon.
Construction accidents can come in all forms. The dangers inherent at many construction sites are evident in the industry. Many construction accidents involve falls from height, heavy equipment related issues, and as today’s story highlights, collapses can provide serious hazards at a construction site. California’s workers’ compensation laws provide important benefits, not only for injured workers, but also for the families of workers who have been killed in a work-related accident.
- San Jose Mercury News, “1 worker freed from trench, 1 dies before he can be freed,” March 14, 2013
- The Republic, “1 man rescued, 1 dead after construction trench collapses in Los Angeles,” The Associated Press, March 15, 2013