Construction worker who fell into trench dies

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Six hours after a construction worker fell into a trench, DeKalb County firefighters removed his body from the bottom of the 16-foot-deep hole.

"This isn't something you can do quickly. We're talking about two feet of dirt from both sides of the trench that fell on this man. It takes time to make sure we're doing it safely and in such a way that the trench doesn't cave in," said Captain Dion Bentley.

According to investigators, the construction worker was acting as a spotter for the operator of a backhoe inside the New Winmire Estate subdivision on Panola Road near Young Road around 11:50 a.m. Friday. The man was standing near the side of the trench when the soil beneath him gave way and he fell into the trench.

By the time we got here construction workers I've tried to do what they could to help their colleague, but it was just too dangerous and too unstable and there wasn't a way to safely get to him. We had to tell them that it was just too dangerous," said Captain Bentley.

A large truck equipped with an industrial-sized vacuum was brought in to the site so that the layers of dirt could be extracted from the trench. Once that process was complete, firefighters were able to drop the stretcher into the hole and remove his body without any risk to other firefighters.

"We really had hoped for a miracle. But it is a very difficult set of circumstances when somebody's been covered in that much dirt for so many hours," said Bentley.

The name of the man and the construction company were not released.