Pennsylvania Fire Chief: Trench in Fatal Collapse Not Shored Up

June 23, 2011

Officials say rescue workers had a difficult time reaching the body of a man killed in a central Pennsylvania trench collapse because the hole was unstable.

Manheim Township Fire Chief Rick Kane says the walls of the trench were not shored up, making the site dangerous for rescuers.

An excavator was used to dig a less steep trench to retrieve the body of 27-year-old Barry Sweitzer following Tuesday’s collapse at a Lancaster County development project.

Emergency officials say Sweitzer was laying water lines when the sides of the 10-foot-deep trench gave way, trapping him.

Kane says the excavating company has a good safety record. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

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