SkyEye video shows firefighters rescue worker trapped in collapsed hole in west Houston

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Friday, January 20, 2023
Video shows firefighters rescue worker trapped in hole in W. Houston
Officials said the man was doing sewer line work when the hole collapsed in on him. The dirt in the area was saturated from the rain -- so there was a lot of extra weight holding him down.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston firefighters rescued a man who was trapped after a hole dug for sewer line work collapsed on him in west Houston Friday morning.

SkyEye video showed many firefighters crowded around the hole in the backyard of a home in the 6100 block of Riverview Way.

Shortly after noon, firefighters were seen lifting the man out of the hole and placing him on a stretcher.

You can see the moment the man was rescued in the video player above.

HFD Deputy Chief Bryan Sky-Eagle said three workers were in the backyard of the home, working on a sewer line. The workers dug out a hole about 10 feet deep and 6 feet wide.

One worker was inside the hole, working to shore up the walls to prevent a landslide, when the hole collapsed, Sky-Eagle said.

Shoring is the process of temporarily supporting a trench with props to prevent collapse.

Officials said crews originally tried to dig the man out with a backhoe, but backup was eventually called because of the danger of the situation.

Sky-Eagle said firefighters arrived at 11:02 a.m. and the man was pulled out of the hole at 12:08 p.m.

The worker was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, officials said.

Sky-Eagle said the rescue took about an hour because the shoring in the hole was keeping the worker's foot pinned down under the debris. Because of this, firefighters had to dig underneath the man to release his foot.

Officials said the dirt in the area was saturated from the rain -- so there was a lot of extra weight holding the man down.

In addition to the wet dirt, Sky-Eagle said the scene was dangerous to begin with because the three workers were digging the trench with no supervision or oversight. It was unclear if they were contracted by the City of Houston.

To make sure the man didn't asphyxiate, medical personnel went down into the hole with him and monitored his vitals. Meanwhile, firefighters monitored for further collapse of the hole.

In total, about 75 rescue and fire department personnel responded to the scene, Sky-Eagle said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will investigate exactly what led up to the dangerous collapse.