RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas (AP) - A 24-year-old worker installing
water lines died after the trench he was in collapsed, trapping him
under an 8-foot-deep pile of dirt and rock for nearly 10 hours.
Noe Cepeda Vela was alone in the trench along U.S. 83 just east
of Rio Grande City when the 10-foot-high walls collapsed about 3
p.m. Monday, authorities said. His co-workers called 911.
Justice of the Peace Dela Cruz pronounced Vela dead at about
7:15 p.m, after the body was unearthed enough for paramedics to
check for vital signs.
Crews with the Starr County Sheriff's Department and the Rio
Grande City Fire Department finally pulled Vela from the rubble
about 11:30 p.m. Monday.
The search was delayed while rescuers tried to reinforce the
trench walls to prevent them from collapsing again.
Vela, of Rio Grande City, was working for MF Site Construction
when the trench collapsed. Attempts to reach MF Site Construction
by telephone were not immediately successful.
Rio Grande City is 70 miles northwest of Harlingen.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)