This escape was scary but successful. A man was temporarily buried by a trench that gave way in a town between Sioux Falls and Mitchell.

Emery, South Dakota is about 60 miles west of Sioux Falls along Highway 262. The incident happened just before 10:00 AM Tuesday (May 23) at one of the town’s intersections while the crew was working on water and sewer lines.

Imagine being crushed by the weight of moist earth with only one hand exposed to mark your spot. The instinct to rescue then became the primary objective of the unidentified man’s co-workers.

The Mitchell Daily Republic spoke to Hanson County Sheriff Brandon Wingert. “A crew of approximately eight men from a Fort Pierre-based construction company and one emergency medical technician worked to dig the man out, clearing his head in about five minutes. It took crews nearly 30 minutes to completely uncover him.”

Additionally, Emery Fire Chief Brian Leitheiser told the Daily Republic that the victim was able to communicate verbally to emergency personnel after the rescue. The man’s exact condition was not immediately available, but he was taken to a hospital for further observation.

A similar incident happened in Brandon in October, 2016. In that instance, the construction worker was only trapped up to his waist while working in a utility trench, but was also taken to the hospital after the fact.

Further back in the files, two men near Hermosa in western South Dakota fell prey to a trench collapse back in September, 2015. Both men were waist deep in that scenario as well and were hospitalized.

A few workers in Emery didn’t know when they woke up today that saving a life was on their agenda. Their efforts sure paid off in the short run with hopes that full recovery is ahead.

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