Construction Worker Dies After Trench Collapses

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A family is mourning the loss of a 34-year-old construction worker that died on Thursday. Officials say he was working in a trench when one of the walls collapsed onto him. KDLT’S Allison Royal was on the scene Thursday just after 11AM on Bahnson Avenue and Brewster Street.

“We just had two individuals that were working on a construction site over here in a trench,” said Captain Rich Miller of the Sioux Falls Police Department. “It’s approximately 10 to 15 feet deep. While they were digging, there was a partial wall collapse.”

One worker was trapped – buried underneath dirt. Police say nearby construction workers did their best to free the worker. Then, one of them called for help. Police say they were on the scene in Southeastern Sioux Falls in about two or three minutes.

“The person was still in the ditch when fire rescue got here and then Fire Rescue actually went down into the trench and then retrieved the individual from there,” said Miller.

Fire Rescue found the man unconscious and in cardiac arrest. 14 firefighters were on the scene, including an engineer.

“We have an engineer on our department and he happened to be down at station three so he came with,” said Michael Clauson, a Battalion Chief with the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue. “He’s one of our trench rescue collapse specialists.”

Paramedics Plus started resuscitation efforts and continued them in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Police confirmed later on Thursday afternoon that the construction worker died at the hospital.

The fire rescue also had two chaplains on the scene to counsel first responders and any other construction workers that may need mental health support after today’s potentially traumatic event.

“We get called out when people are having the worst day of their life and so there’s an effect on our men and women too,” said Clauson. We want to make sure that they’re good to go and that’s the purpose of having the chaplains here today.”

Police say the coroner will perform an autopsy within the next several weeks.

OSHA  is conducting an ongoing investigation at this time. A representative did say they are “very, very sorry” and that today’s fatality was “preventable.”


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