Florida

‘He should play the lottery.’ Florida construction worker survives being buried alive

Gainesville Fire Rescue crews used a ladder and harnesses and shovels and hands to get inside a 10-foot by 25-foot hole into which a construction worker fell and was completely buried on Jan. 10, 2019.
Gainesville Fire Rescue crews used a ladder and harnesses and shovels and hands to get inside a 10-foot by 25-foot hole into which a construction worker fell and was completely buried on Jan. 10, 2019. Gainesville Fire Rescue

When a construction worker fell into a 10-foot deep and 25-foot wide hole his colleagues and rescue workers couldn’t see him at all.

The unidentified man was buried alive.

According to Gainesville Fire Rescue, the accident happened Thursday morning outside the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center. The worker fell into the hole and when crews arrived about two feet of dirt had covered him completely.

In photos posted by the fire rescue unit, ladders and harnesses were used in extricating the man from the hole. But the attempt was not made easy by the fragility of the dirt walls surrounding the crews and entombing the man.

GFR ladder in hol_fitted.jpeg
Gainesville Fire Rescue crews used a ladder to get inside a 10-foot by 25-foot hole into which a construction worker fell and was completely buried on Jan. 10, 2019. Gainesville Fire Rescue

When rescuers made contact with the construction worker, using hands and shovels to uncover his head, and then the rest of him, he was unconscious but breathing.

In an update posted to Facebook about an hour after the accident, Gainesville Fire Rescue shared the good news: “The patient was transported conscious and breathing by Alachua-County Fire-Rescue as a trauma alert to [UF Health] Shands” Cancer Hospital.

“He was conscious and alert when they took him to the hospital. ... He should play the lottery,” Gainesville Fire Rescue Lt. Jeff Schuhmacher told The Gainesville Sun.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.

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