Worker rescued from pit in St. Paul as crowd cheers

  • Article by: JENNIFER BROOKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 20, 2012 - 8:37 PM

Firefighters pulled man safely from hole he'd just dug.

Emergency crews in St. Paul rescued a construction worker trapped in a pit on the worksite of the University Avenue light-rail project on Monday morning.

The worker was operating a massive drill, gouging 8-foot-deep, 36-inch-wide pits along the rail bed, when he fell into one of the freshly dug holes, officials said.

He hurt his shoulder in the fall, but was able to talk to firefighters during the half-hour it took to rig a rescue harness and pull him out of the cramped space.

"He drilled the hole, and for some reason, stepped into the hole," said Jim Smith, assistant fire chief of operations for the St. Paul Fire Department.

The accident happened across the street from the State Capitol, drawing a small crowd of people who cheered and applauded as the worker emerged from the pit.

A firefighter, dangling upside down from a rope secured to a bucket truck, was lowered slowly into the hole, where he attached a harness to the man, allowing crews to pull him to safety.

The worker was able to limp to a waiting gurney before being taken away by ambulance.


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