Man freed after being buried ‘up to his chin’ in Bethel trench collapse

BETHEL — A worker was airlifted to Yale New Haven Hospital in serious condition Wednesday afternoon after a trench collapse left him buried up to his chin in dirt, officials said.

Bethel’s Stony Hill Fire Department said in a statement that first responders from across the area helped free the man, including digging him up by hand at one point.

Officials said the man, who has not been identified, was trapped for nearly 2.5 hours. Officials did not say what caused the collapse.

Stony Hill and Bethel volunteer firefighters were alerted to the incident on Budd Drive around 1 p.m. Wednesday. The Danbury Fire Department was also called to the scene to provide a technical rescue team and a trench rescue trailer.

At the trench, first responders found a worker trapped in a hole about 13 to 15 feet deep. The worker was “chin-deep in the dirt”. He was reportedly conscious and speaking when authorities arrived.

“Upon the arrival of additional resources, including equipment from Danbury, firefighters began to properly shore the hole, preventing further collapse,” the Stony Hill Fire Department said in a statement. “With the combined effort of Stony Hill, Bethel [and] Danbury firefighters working in the hole, dirt was removed by hand in buckets to help free the worker. A special call has been made to City of Danbury Public Works for a vacuum truck to better assist firefighters in removing dirt.

The worker was evacuated a few minutes before 4 p.m. The man was then airlifted to hospital. The extent of his injuries was not immediately disclosed.