Man stuck in hole after ground opens at construction site

Rescuers have freed a worker trapped for more than three hours at an Apollo Beach construction site when the ground collapsed beneath him.

"I'm pretty confident he's going to be okay," said Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Deputy Chief David Travis.

The 10-foot hole where the man was trapped had been filling with water as rescuers frantically worked to pull him from the ground, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. He appeared to be buried at least waist deep.

Rescuers used compressed air to separate mud from his legs to free him, authorities said. They freed his right leg first and, for about 30 minutes before pulling him out, they worked to free his right.

Two workers who immediately began to free him were taken to the hospital because of exhaustion.

The site is on Park Trend Drive in the Waterset subdivision. The construction site is for new homes. 

Officials said the ground collapse is not considered a sink hole.

Rescuers said the hole where the man was working had been dug by an excavation machine. The worker sunk into the ground when an area of the hole collapsed about 3 p.m.

The man was secured to an excavator by a harness to keep him from sinking even farther.

Rescuers diverted most of the water from the hole with as many as five pumps.

Owen Scott, a vac truck operator with Bay Area Environmental, was one of dozens who helped in the rescue. 

"I've never seen nothing like that," Scott said. "We just helped out doing what we could."

The cause of the collapse remains unknown. Officials have yet to release the construction worker's identity.

 

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