JARRELL, Texas — Two workers were presumed dead after a trench they were digging for a sewer line in Texas on Tuesday collapsed and buried them, officials said.
The workers were digging a 24-foot-deep (7-meter-deep) in new subdivision under development in Jarrell, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Austin, when it caved in city spokesman Nick Spinetto said.
Crews worked unsuccessfully for four hours to reach the buried workers, who were then presumed dead, Spinetto said. Excavating equipment was brought in, but work to shore up the fragile trench walls continued all Tuesday afternoon as fresh collapses were feared, he said.
“It’s a really involved process for the safety of our rescuers, for the safety of our emergency personnel,” Spinetto said. “They have to remove certain dirt and almost make steps to make sure the crews can get down there without causing any more dirt to collapse.”
Recovery efforts were to continue Wednesday. “We want to make sure it’s safe for our emergency personnel to get down there,” he said.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was to investigate.