Trapped Tyler Man Rescued From Trench After Hour And A Half

Rescuers pull out an East Texas man trapped in a trench filling up with sand and water. Officials say the walls of the trench collapsed this morning on Garrett street, near the Heritage South Subdivision in Tyler.

United plumbing employee 23 year old Chris Small was inside the 8 foot trench, almost completely covered by sand and rising water. They say after the initial collapse, Chris was completely submerged in the hole, but two of his co-workers jumped in and were digging out the sand from around his face, uncovering his head so he could breathe.

Now when fire fighters arrived on the scene the sand was still up to his neck. The hole has since been filled up but tyler fire did provide us with these pictures. In all, it took rescuers an hour and a half, along with an elaborate system of pulleys and ropes, to finally bring chris back to the surface.

"He was alert. He was in some pain one of his legs was trapped. When the cave in happened. He had a shovel in the hole with him. That was covered up the shovel was buried in the wall in the trench," said Tony Gumber, Tyler Fire Department, "Everytime he takes a breath the sand it takes a little more space. Its harder for him to expand each time."

Chris was taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries to his leg. He has since been released.

The fire investigators told me this is not an every day thing, but something that happens only every 3 to 5 years.

But Monday afternoon when we were out here at the scene construction workers were back at work.

Danielle Capper, Reporting. dcapper@kltv.com