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Ga. worker rescued after being nearly buried alive in trench collapse

Paulding County first responders faced a worker buried up to his neck in a 20-foot deep trench

By Mitchell Willetts
The Charlotte Observer

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — A trench recently collapsed at a Georgia construction site while a worker was inside, nearly burying the man alive, photos show.

Firefighters responded to the scene in Paulding County before noon on March 29, and arrived to find the man buried “up to his neck in a 20-foot deep trench,” Paulding County Fire and Rescue said in a Facebook post, sharing photos from the rescue.

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The man can be seen helplessly trapped in a hole near a house that’s under construction, while first responders use ropes, ladders and muscle to pull him free from the dirt, photos show.

But it wasn’t safe for rescuers to get close to the hole, WSB-TV reported.

“Our rescuers attempted to approach the trench and determined that the soil was unstable, so they backed away and secured the scene,” Lt. Steve Mapes with the Paulding County Fire Department told the station.

Rescuers first had to dig around the trench before they could safely try to pull the worker out, the outlet reported.

With 150 pounds per cubic foot of dirt all around him, it was difficult for the man to breathe, officials told WXIA. Specialized trucks were brought in to vacuum up soil surrounding him.

It took more than three hours to rescue the worker and “he remained conscious & alert throughout the ordeal,” firefighters said. He was then taken to a hospital for treatment and was reportedly in “guarded condition.”

Officials didn’t say what caused the trench to collapse.

Paulding County is a roughly 30-mile drive northwest of Atlanta.

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