Worker trapped in collapsing hole with water rescued by USAR team

A construction worker was saved after getting trapped in a 10-foot deep hole while installing sewer lines Wednesday afternoon prompting a rescue effort.

The incident happened around 3:20 p.m. in the Royal Palm Golf Estates at Eagle Lakes Golf Club off US-41 in south Collier County.

According to Greater Naples Fire District, the worker was stuck in a hole that was caving in and filling up with water.

Fire Chief J Nolan Sapp said when the urban search and rescue team arrived, water was nearly up to the man’s shoulders.

They started sucking out water and mud from around him to help in getting him out. Eventually, Collier Public Utilities showed up with a vacuum truck and that sped up the process of getting him out.

The man was taken to the hospital for a check-up to make sure he’s OK.

“It was a tense situation because we have to worry about the water level,” Assistant Chief Forrest Campbell said. “At one point, it was up to his armpits, so he had maybe another foot of water at most before it would’ve been over his head.”

Campbell helped save the construction worker who was installing sewer lines.

“The walls on the ground collapsed and trapped, pinned, the male patient up to his waist,” Campbell said.

Then, the water filled the hole, suctioning the man inside. Fire crews used buckets to get the water out until the county’s utilities crew showed up with a strong pump, sucking out water and dirt.

“If this would have been an extended response time area, I don’t know what we would be going through at this time,” Campbell said.

Crews had to turn the power off in this neighborhood for a couple of hours because of the rescue and has since been restored.

Neighbors were glad this was a story of survival.

“It’s scary,” Vanessa Hanba said. “We just hope he’s all right, and that’s the most important. We just hope he’s OK.”

Reporter:Gail Levy
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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