, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 20, 2013

Trench collapse pins construction worker

Rescue takes more than 3 hours and 50 emergency responders

IPSWICH — A construction worker was pinned for nearly three hours yesterday after a trench collapsed on him, nearly burying him in debris.

William Gallagher, 40, of North Reading, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and remained conscious throughout the afternoon rescue. Workers were installing a sewer line on the side of Route 1A, across from Upper River Road.

The initial collapse buried Gallagher up to his chest in dirt and chunks of asphalt, authorities said. First responders were able to free him up to his waist, but the rescue proved tricky because his 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. He had injuries to his lower extremities, said Ipswich police Chief Paul Nikas.

The collapse happened just before 11 a.m. Nikas said yesterday he wasn’t sure if Gallagher was in the trench at the time of the collapse or if he was standing nearby and fell in as it happened.

Two Ipswich police officers, Patrolman Jason Sinclair and Sgt. Justin Daly, were working a detail at the construction site yesterday. They “went into action” as soon as the Gallagher was buried, Nikas said, and jumped in to try and dig him out by hand and free him.

They quickly realized he was seriously pinned and called dispatch for help, he said.

“They did an excellent job of stabilizing and getting (him) room to breathe,” Nikas said of his two officers. “... It was a high-stress situation for them, and I think they did a fantastic job.”

Route 1A was closed yesterday 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.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Special Features