NYC worker freed from waist-deep mud

March 20, 2013 at 7:35 AM
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NEW YORK, March 20 (UPI) -- A New York subway project construction worker was freed Wednesday after being trapped in a 75-foot-deep tunnel in waist-deep mud, officials said.

Authorities said it wasn't immediately known how the unidentified worker became stuck or what his medical condition was when he was rescued about 12:30 a.m., The New York Times reported. The worker was conscious when taken to a hospital.

The rescue involved 130 emergency personnel and lasted 4 hours before the man was lifted from the hole in a basket suspended from a crane on the surface.

The episode at the construction site began when the worker's foot somehow became lodged in a frame being used in the project and sank into the mud, Ron Spadafora, an assistant fire chief, told the Times.

A Fire Department spokesman said the worker was secured with a rope while responders cleared debris around him. Consolidated Edison also brought in a truck equipped with an industrial vacuum to suck out the mud and debris to free the worker.

A firefighter said workers used plywood to brace the walls as they descended into the tunnels using ropes. He said the rescuers found themselves getting stuck in the mud as well.

Officials told the Times several initial rescue attempts failed. At least two first responders were taken to a hospital with injuries.

The spokesman said the worker was conscious and talking during the rescue and was given drugs to help calm him, the Times said. A physician and a Fire Department chaplain were brought into the tunnel to assist the man.

One mud-covered firefighter said he had been in the hole for 30 minutes and called it "a nightmare."

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