One injured after being trapped in gravel pit at Eastern Industries
After a trench cave-in Friday morning at Eastern Industries, a sand and gravel plant in Sheshequin Township, one man was transported to Robert Packer Hospital.
Steve Bixby, fire chief of the Ulster-Sheshequin Fire Company, said they received a call at around 6:30 a.m. Friday for a 52-year-old male trapped underground in a gravel pit.
Bixby explained the circumstances of the incident, describing how, during normal operations, loose gravel is fed by vibrations into a hole. When the hole became clogged and couldn't be detected, the man walked on top of the gravel to try to find it, and the ground broke loose, with the man falling into the hole, about 5 feet underground.
The man was surrounded by gravel from his waist to his neck, with his legs under him in a tunnel below, Bixby said. The man had pressure from the gravel against him, and he was having some trouble breathing; oxygen was lowered down to him.
The operation to extricate the man was tedious, Bixby said, as they did not want to further endanger the man. Bixby said the man was rescued through the tunnel that was underneath him.
"It was definitely a close call for that gentleman," he said.
The extrication took about two hours, after which the man was transported by ambulance to Robert Packer Hospital.
"It appears he may have only suffered minor injuries," Bixby said.
No other injuries occurred during the incident. Bixby said the incident will be under investigation.
Several other departments besides the Ulster-Sheshequin unit responded to and helped with the rescue, Bixby said, including Towanda, Wysox, Greater Valley EMS, and special rescue teams in Dushore and Mildred.
"Everything went smoothly for rescue operations," Bixby said. "The outcome was what we wanted."