A worker repairing an underground sewer line in Encino died Wednesday evening after the trench he was working in partially collapsed.
The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a 6:25 p.m. call about the accident, and several firefighters worked over the next hour to try to rescue the man. The Fire Department confirmed at 7:39 p.m. that the man, thought to be in his 20s or 30s, had died.
When they arrived, the man was alive but in critical condition, buried up to his chest in the trench, thought to be about 5 feet wide and 10 feet deep. Authorities believe the earth on at least one side had collapsed onto the worker.
In a trench extraction, firefighters must be cautious not to cause a secondary collapse, an LAFD public information officer said. Using plywood and lumber, firefighters build supports and webbing to hold up the sides of the trench, and access patients through ladders and safety ropes. It is one of the more technical rescue operations firefighters do.
The cause of the collapse is unknown, and no further information was available Wednesday evening on the identity of the man or his employer.