Four men hospitalized after rescued from a collapsed gravel pit

Lafarge Gravel Mine scene
Lafarge Gravel Mine (Source: Sandoval County Fire)

PLACITAS, N.M. (KRQE) – Four workers are in the hospital Friday morning after a gravel pit collapse that trapped all of them inside.

At this point, it’s unclear as to the condition of these men, but the good news Friday morning is that they are all alive and safe.

Sandoval County Fire officials say this all started Thursday evening around 5:30 p.m., when they took a call about a collapse at the Vulcan Gravel Mine in Placitas.

They say when they arrived on scene they found four workers trapped. One was buried to his waist, one up to his chest, and the other two buried to their necks.

Workers told rescuers those last two became stuck first and when the other two came to their aid, the pit collapsed again trapping them.

It took crews about five hours to free all four workers.

One was airlifted, the other taken by ambulance, but freeing the remaining two workers was difficult.

The Sandoval County Fire Chief described it as a “heavy technical rescue.”

Crews had to work by hand to clear the rocks and gravel, as the pit continued to collapse.

Fire officials say investigators from the Department of Labor are on scene at this time. KRQE News 13 has called the Department of Labor to learn more about the investigation but have not heard back.

Friday, the Vulcan Materials Company released the following statement:

Vulcan Materials Company responded to an incident involving four employees at our Placitas, New Mexico facility, which occurred yesterday (June 29, 2017) at approximately 5:00 PM local time. We are grateful to report that all four employees involved in the incident are recuperating or receiving treatment.

Vulcan would like to thank the multiple agencies—including the fire departments from Sandoval County, Rio Rancho, Corrales and Albuquerque—that were involved in the response to this incident.  We are grateful for their service, professionalism and expertise.

While Vulcan’s efforts last night were focused on the safe recovery of our employees, our focus has now shifted to investigating what took place yesterday and our priority is the well-being of our employees and their families.

Vulcan is working cooperatively with regulatory officials, in concert with our safety and health team, to determine the cause of this incident and to enact any preventive measures that are required.

Earlier this morning, our local employees took part in a “safety stand down,” a gathering to discuss what occurred yesterday and to address safety in the workplace.

 

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