Worker dies in Raleigh trench collapse; 3 others make it out

RALEIGH, N.C. — One worker died and three others were freed after a trench collapse at a Durham construction site Wednesday that triggered a frantic effort to dig them out, authorities said.

Channel 9′s news partners, WTVD, flew over the scene at Corners Parkway and saw several fire trucks and dozens of firefighters frantically working at the scene.

According to reports, multiple people were trapped and emergency crews were working to get several workers out.

The Durham Fire Department said it and the Raleigh Fire Department responded to the trench collapse around 11 a.m. Though the incident is in Wake County, Durham Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Chris Iannuzzi said the collapse happened inside Durham city limits.

According to WTVD, Four workers were in the trench when it collapsed.

Of the trapped workers, one got out on his own, one was extricated and walked with help to waiting paramedics, one was rescued and one died.

The Durham Fire Department said the body of the worker who was killed in the trench collapse was recovered in the late afternoon. The person’s name wasn’t immediately released.

Two of the workers were taken to Duke University Hospital. Their conditions are not known.

Rescuers spent several hours trying to free the fourth worker in the hole that Iannuzzi estimated was at least 6 feet deep. He said he believed the worker had been completely covered with dirt.

[PHOTOS: Rescue underway after trench collapse in Durham]

A manager at the nearby Jersey Mike’s told WTVD the construction workers had been working to build a gas station for Harris Teeter. Over the past month or so crews had been digging deep holes where they would put gas tanks.

“I’m just praying everyone is OK. It’s horrible,” Jersey Mike’s manager Ashley Losurdl told WTVD. “All we can do is pray.”

Some rescuers were working by hand, others were shoring up the walls of the hole, and a vacuum truck and backhoe were on scene to help remove dirt.

No other details about the rescue or what happened have been released, though officials said the wet conditions may have played a role in the collapse.

“The hole, it’s deep. It’s about like, 10 feet deep. And then I guess the dirt from the sides just went ahead and collapsed on them,” a construction worker at the scene told WTVD.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this story.

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