KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- Two men were rescued from a collapsed trench at a North Knoxville construction site in North Knoxville after hours of extraction efforts by first responders.
Both men went to the hospital and according to the Knoxville Fire Department. One is still in the hospital recovering at last check. The whole ordeal lasted around five hours on Monday afternoon with the second man stuck until around 7:30 p.m.
Neighbors said they were worried something like this could happen.
Howard Johnson’s property backs up to this construction site and saw the events unfold from his backyard.
“I think the rescue crews did a great job. They came in and they did it real slow which is what you have to do,” Johnson said. “It’s a very dangerous situation and I honestly think they did a great job and I’m glad the guys got out okay.”
Rescue workers needed some special equipment to avoid what could have been a tragedy.
Assistant Chief Mark Wilbanks with Knoxville Fire Dept. Assistant Chief Mark Wilbanks said the process of getting both men out of the trench took a lot of patience and communication with city construction crews and the Knoxville Utilities Board.
“We had about 30 employees here last night. Plus, we had a city construction crew with a vac truck. There were six of them,” Wilbanks said. “We had three KUB workers from our partners over at KUB with their vac trucks and it took all of those folks to make this happen.”
After several hours of digging, both were transported to UT Medical Center.
The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating how this incident could have occurred.
A spokesperson said a workplace injury investigation can take between six and eight weeks to complete, and they will not release any information until that time.