DPS worker rescued after trench collapses in Grosse Ile - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

DPS worker rescued after trench collapses in Grosse Ile

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By Taryn Asher
Fox 2 News


GROSSE ILE, Mich. (WJBK) -- "They do a very good job about fixing all the plumbing and the pipe work in the city," says James Wise.

But as neighbors found out Thursday morning, something went terribly wrong.  SkyFox was overhead as emergency crews worked to free a Department of Public Services worker who was trapped at the bottom of a twelve foot trench on Meridian Road near Bridge Road in Grosse Ile.

It only took a few minutes before the 56-year-old man became buried alive.  We're told he was working on the water main when the trench collapsed.  It started to fill up fast with water, mud and clay.  Another worker had to actually use his hands to dig him out.

"It had to be hand dug because of his condition.  You can't use a backhoe because of the close proximity of the individual to the surface of the ground, and so it was all hand work," says Grosse Ile Police Chief Joe Percerelli.

"He was approximately underneath the mud and water for about 14 minutes, and one of the gentleman who is a firefighter but also happens to be a DPS worker was trying to hold his head up above the water to keep his airway open," says Grosse Ile Township Fire Chief Duncan Murdock.

They even gave him oxygen as he became covered by the clay and the mud, but by the time Grosse Ile Township firefighters and DPS workers were able to pull the man to safety, he had no pulse and he was not breathing.

EMS crews standing by were able to revive him.  U of M Life Flight then transferred him to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit where he is listed in critical condition.

Meanwhile, Grosse Ile Police and accident reconstructionists are investigating the wall collapse.  MIOSHA has been brought in to see if the proper safety measures were taken.

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