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Two talk about helping rescue man trapped in a trench | News

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Two talk about helping rescue man trapped in a trench

(WBIR) The investigation into what led to a trench collapse last week is still underway. The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it could take four to six weeks to complete.

Friday, emergency crews rushed to a Roane County construction site just outside Harriman where a utility worker for Danson Construction (Sparta, TN) was trapped in a trench.

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Five Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) workers also rushed to the scene with their Guzzler truck.

Josh Jernigan, a labor foreman for TVA, and Mike Stanton, a TVA maintenance supervisor, were among the group.

Jernigan said, "He was kind of lifeless. They had him sedated so he couldn't feel anything and he was just there. He was in a bad position, basically."

Stanton said, "We thought he had passed but it didn't last too long until we found out he was breathing."

The workers used the Guzzler to suck up much of the dirt that was surrounding the trapped man. When emergency crews from across East Tennessee arrived, the TVA workers assisted in whatever way needed to free the man, who they said was sedated when they got to the site.

Jernigan and Stanton said they were told the Guzzler truck shaved off many hours of the normal time it takes to free someone in a similar situation.

Stanton said, "EMS workers told us it takes about 8 to 14 hours to get an individual out of that situation, freed up, on a gurney, and rolled out. And due to our vacuum truck and our equipment we were able to shave about four to six hours off of that."

It took crews four hours free the man who was stuck in dirt up to his chest. He was taken to the hospital and Stanton said they were told the man is expected to fully recover.

Jernigan said, "It's just a blessing to help save a younger man's life, or a younger person's life."

Stanton said, "To watch him go through that it was a sad feeling."

The name of the man who was trapped in the trench has not yet been released.


Kingston - Harriman - Roane Businesses