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Corpus Christi Trench Collapse Leaves Contractor Dead

A contactor died tragically yesterday morning when a trench collapsed near Buccaneer Stadium in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Crews Worked for 6 Hours to Recover Contractor’s Remains

The April 5th accident occurred shortly before noon, as the unidentified man was working in a trench at a construction site located near Leopard Street and Buddy Lawrence Drive.

“When fire crews got on scene, they quickly realized that instead of a rescue, they were going to be involved in a body recovery,” Corpus Christi fire Chief Robert Rocha told the Caller-Times.

Fire department rescue experts, trench rescue experts, and hazmat experts spent about six hours working to secure the scene and stabilize the trench before they were able to recover the victim’s body. Firefighters had to first use a bucket to carefully remove dirt from the trench and construct a wood box around the contractor’s remains before that was possible.

The trench was apparently 10-feet deep and located inside of a manhole. While authorities have not identified the deceased worker, they have confirmed that the trench was connected with the construction of a nearby apartment complex. The victim was not a city worker but was employed by a private contracting firm involved with the project.

Trench-Related Fatalities Continue to Rise

While not yet known what caused the trench to collapse, agencies at the local, state, and federal levels will be investigating the fatal accident. The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration is aware of the incident.

According to a recent report from the Center for Construction Training and Research, the nation’s construction industry experienced more than 350 trench-related fatalities from 2003-2017.  The number of these fatalities rose dramatically, from ten in 2014 to 18 in 2015 to 33 in 2016. While the number fell in 2017 to 19, it was still nearly double the 2014 level.

While a trench collapse is rarely survivable, such tragedies are completely preventable. In fact, the report noted that the failure to comply with OSHA safety regulations was the most common factor in trench-related deaths.

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