, Salem, MA

November 19, 2013

Man rescued after trench collapse pins him for nearly 3 hours

Bethany Bray
The Salem News

IPSWICH — A 40 year-old construction worker was pinned for nearly three hours today after a trench collapsed on him, nearly burying him in debris.

The initial collapse buried the man, identified as William Gallagher of North Reading, up to his neck in dirt and chunks of asphalt, said police. First responders were able to free him up to his waist, but the rescue proved tricky because Gallagher's leg was pinned on a gas main.

"The problem with trench rescues is the more you dig, the more it collapses," said Ipswich Fire Chief Jack Parow.

Once extricated, Gallagher was transported to Boston Medical Center by helicopter with non-life threatening injuries. He had injuries to his lower extremities, said Ipswich Police Chief Paul Nikas.

The collapse happened just before 11 a.m.

Gallagher was conscious throughout the rescue. Medics were able to give him pain medication to make him more comfortable as rescue crews worked to remove the soil trapping him, Nikas said.

Route 1A was closed this afternoon as rescue teams from Ipswich police and fire departments and the Essex County Technical Rescue response team worked to free the man and stabilize the trench.

The trench was off the side of Route 1A, just south of the intersection of Routes 1A and 133. Upper River Road is across the road from the trench site.

Workers were installing a sewer line at that location, Nikas said.

For details, see Wednesday's Salem News.