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Worker buried in trench collapse during sewer repairs in Charleswood

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Occupational Health and Safety is investigating a trench collapse that occurred at a utility repair site in the community of Charleswood on Thursday.

The Calgary Fire Department was called to the 2600 block of 34 Avenue N.W. at around 10:45 a.m.

"We received a call to 911 reporting that a worker was down in a trench or a deep hole working on a sewer line, and one of the walls completely collapsed on top of him," said Carol Henke, spokesperson for the Calgary Fire Department.

She says a large volume of dirt fell on the victim.  

"The hole is completely filled. Because it was at an incline, the slope actually fell away into the hole.

"The sad news is that he is still trapped down there, the hole was ten or 20 feet down, and it was a lot of earth that came down on top of him.

"Sadly in these types of situations, the outcome is not expected to be a positive one."

Henke says both an excavator and a vacuum truck were brought in to assist with the operation.  

"The excavator will do the bigger work at the start because we don't know where exactly he is, and then the vac truck will come in and suck up more of the dirt," Henke said.

"The technical rescue team, the entire team is here from both fire stations, they were actually out for training, training for this type of call."

Emergency crews respond to a trench collapse in the community of Charleswood on Thursday, June 8, 2023.Henke says the worker is believed to be a private contractor.

"Probably because the issue with the sewer line was on private property.

"It's just an incredibly sad day," she said. "Someone's family will be forever changed."

The Calgary Police Service says its victim assistance support team has been made available to those who were involved in or witnessed the incident.

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