KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Both men trapped in gravel at a Knoxville construction site Monday afternoon have been pulled out.
The Knoxville Fire Department responded to a construction site in the 800 block of East Inskip Drive around 2:45 p.m. Monday. Two construction workers were found partially covered by gravel in a trench 4-6 feet below the surface.
It took hours to free both men with the first being pulled out around 6 p.m. and the second being freed around 7:30 p.m. According to Assistant Chief Mark Wilbanks, with Knoxville Fire Department, the second man pulled from the gravel had his foot stuck under a pipe making the rescue more difficult.
“It’s not a good situation right now,” Wilbanks said during a press conference update just after 5 p.m. “The sooner we get them out, the better.”
Both are in stable condition and the first man rescued has been discharged from the hospital. Wilbanks said the two men were talking with the fire department crews working to rescue them.
Wilbanks also said there is a chance that the men will suffer from “Acute Compartment Syndrome,” a painful condition that occurs when pressure builds within muscles causing a decrease in blood flow that prevents nourishment and oxygen from reaching nerve and muscle cells, according to information from the Cleveland Clinic.
Wilbanks described the rescue as a slow and labor-intensive operation. He said the main challenge is the gravel shifting while trying to dig out the two workers.
Rescuers used a vacuum to suck rock out of the hole.
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Inskip Drive will be closed while rescue operations continue.