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Two workers die after trench collapses on them in St. Paul

June 19, 2022 GMT

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Two construction workers died after a trench collapsed on top of them in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul, and one of their bodies was found 9 feet underground roughly 12 hours later.

St. Paul Deputy Fire Chief Roy Mokosso said firefighters finally recovered the second body around 2:30 a.m. Saturday. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that first man’s body was recovered Friday night about six hours after firefighters found it partially protruding from the dirt.

Mokosso said a trench box that’s designed to prevent cave-ins was sitting next to where three men were working on an underground pipe before the collapse, but it wasn’t being used.

He said a third worker at the construction site tried to help the buried workers but “realized pretty quickly there was little they could do.” That worker called 911 at 2:40 p.m. Friday.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 373 trench deaths were reported nationwide between 2003 and 2017. Trench collapses are especially dangerous because even a square yard of dirt can weigh more than 3,000 pounds.

“It’s similar to drowning, but worse because of the weight,” Mokosso said..

The victims were not immediately identified by authorities.