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‘We just dug until we found him’: Man found dead in collapsed trench

WATCH ABOVE: A 55-year-old man’s body was extracted from a 10-foot deep trench after it collapsed Tuesday afternoon. Kent Morrison reports. 

EDMONTON – Police confirmed Wednesday morning a 55-year-old man buried in a trench Tuesday afternoon was killed.

A family member of the contractor told Global News the man’s first name was Fred, but his identity has not yet been made public by investigators.

Edmonton’s district fire chief said they were called around 4:52 p.m. Tuesday about a man completely buried in a trench. A construction crew was digging a hole to supply services into a new home in the area of 123 Street and 107 Avenue.

When Edmonton Fire and Rescue Services arrived, the rescue team had to shore up the sides of the 10-foot deep trench so there would be no further collapse.

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“Technical rescue team shored up the sides for safety and we just dug until we found him,” said Chief Doug MacDonald.

According to MacDonald, pulling the man’s body to the surface took hours. There was several feet of mud and clay in the trench, making the extraction difficult. Pick axes were used to get to the body, which was freed from the trench during the overnight hours.

McDonald said during the operation they couldn’t see the person buried. The rescue crew had not been in contact with man nor could they see him under all the debris.

WATCH: Emergency crews are on scene at a construction site northwest of the downtown core where someone is trapped in a collapsed trench. Vinesh Pratap reports.

 

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A person was trapped when a trench collapsed near 123 Street and 107 Avenue on April 28, 2015. Vinesh Pratap, Global News
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A person was trapped when a trench collapsed near 123 Street and 107 Avenue on April 28, 2015. Colton Goforth , Global News
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A person was trapped when a trench collapsed near 123 Street and 107 Avenue on April 28, 2015. Colton Goforth , Global News
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A person was trapped when a trench collapsed near 123 Street and 107 Avenue on April 28, 2015. Vinesh Pratap, Global News
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A person was trapped when a trench collapsed near 123 Street and 107 Avenue on April 28, 2015. Global News
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A person was trapped when a trench collapsed near 123 Street and 107 Avenue on April 28, 2015. Global News
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A man was trapped under debris at an Edmonton construction site on April 28, 2015. Jessica Kent, Global News
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A man was trapped under debris at an Edmonton construction site on April 28, 2015. Jessica Kent, Global News

There are several homes under construction in the specific Westmount neighbourhood where the collapse happened.

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A next-door neighbour who was home at the time said he heard a scream and soon after, rescue crews arrived.

He said the old home was torn down in November and work began at that time.

Occupational Health and Safety is investigating the incident.

The story has been updated to remove a reference to the Bissell Centre’s Casual Labour program. The Bissell Centre said it didn’t place any workers at the job site. Global News is continuing to report on this story to provide more clarity. 

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