VANCOUVER -- WorkSafeBC is investigating after a serious construction accident in Vancouver led to a complicated technical rescue operation.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services were called to the intersection of Vanness Avenue and Joyce Street around 11 p.m. Thursday after reports of a trench collapse.

Pedre Underground Utilities was doing sewer work related to a residential high-rise under construction at 5050 Joyce St.

Fire officials say two construction workers were repositioning a shoring cage, used to stabilize and protect the area they were working in, when the front gave way.

One man was able to dig himself out, but another was pinned beneath thousands of pounds of construction aggregate.

“He was tangled up in a position that made it extremely difficult to extricate him,” said Battalion Chief Mike Primerano of Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.

Primerano says the man’s leg was bent backward which made digging him out a challenge.

“Crews had to go down into the hole, build shoring around his body, extricate material from around him as carefully as they could.”

Rescuers called in a vacuum truck to suck some of the gravel mixture pinning him out of the 20 foot trench.

Nearly three hours later, they were able to reach him.

He was strapped onto a stretcher and lifted out of the hole by rope.

“Kudos to him for staying in control and co-operating with the rescuers. It made a big difference and his attitude. It certainly helped considering the amount of pain he was in and the amount of time it was taking to free him,” explained Primerano.

BC Emergency Health Services says the patient was in stable condition when paramedics transported him to hospital.

His coworker only suffered minor injuries and is expected to recover.

WorkSafeBC staff were on scene during the rescue.

They will work to determine what exactly caused the accident.

Todd Martin, the health and safety manager for Pedre Underground Utilities, said the company is co-operating fully with the investigation.

He also said the injured employee has been released from hospital after being treated for a broken ankle, and is expected to make a full recovery.


Rescue at Vancouver construction site


Rescue at Vancouver construction site


Vancouver construction site accident