N.C. Worker Freed from Trench by Rescue Team

A man who was trapped in a trench Wednesday morning while working in a drainage ditch was freed after a 2 1/2-hour rescue operation, the Fayetteville Fire Department said.

The man, 56-year-old Alfred Norris, was in good condition but was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, authorities said.

Norris was conscious and alert throughout the rescue operation, Battalion Chief Ron Lewis said.

The accident happened about 10:20a.m., Lewis said.

Norris and Glen Hair were installing a storm drain behind a restaurant under construction and just a few yards from the Lowe's Home Improvement store on Good Middling Road, said their employer, James Averitt, president of Superior Land Clearing Inc. in Vander.

Hair was operating a backhoe and Norris was in the trench, which was about 10 feet deep, when a side wall gave way, Averitt said, and the dirt caved in.

Norris was entrapped by the dirt, which came to the middle of his chest, Averitt said.

Hair, who has worked with Norris for more than 35 years, said he immediately jumped off the machinery, twisting his ankle in the process.

Hair, assisted by some of the Lowe's workers, dug Norris out to his waist.

Hair and some of the Firefighters and the department's Collapse, Search and Rescue team had to take steps to ensure that the trench was safe before removing Norris, Lewis said.

Rescuers, assured that Norris was not injured, kept him hydrated with IV fluids and provided him with oxygen to help him breathe.

Representatives of the state's Occupational Safety and Health Division also were at the scene.


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