A man died Saturday, Dec. 19, after he was buried under soil that collapsed on him as he and a crew were excavating a hole for a swimming pool in the backyard of a home in Orange, authorities said.
Orange city firefighters were called to the two-story home in the 6200 block of Cliffway Drive just after 10:50 a.m. on a report of a body down in the backyard, Capt. Ryan O’Connor said.
Firefighters arrived and found the man buried shoulder deep at the bottom of a nine- to 10-foot hole in the ground and began attempting a trench rescue, O’Connor said. The victim, who appeared to be about 30-years old, was in the hole when soil from the top slipped down on him.
About 30 minutes into the rescue efforts, another collapse completely buried the victim and firefighters lost contact with him, O’Connor said.
“There was a secondary collapse in which we ceased to be able to communicate with the individual,” O’Connor said. “The excavation hole is very dangerous due to the quality of the soil and being unable to communicate or see the victim, the operation has switched over to body recovery.”
The home’s backyard backs up to a cliff, O’Connor said.
Orange FD, OCFA and more are working to rescue an adult male who was working on installing a pool in a back yard on Cliffway drive in Orange. They were able to communicate with him after the 1st collapse, but haven’t heard from him since the 2nd collapse.@CBSLA @KCBSKCALDesk pic.twitter.com/h6ZI0cujfV
— Chris Ercoli (@CErcoliCBS2KCAL) December 19, 2020
Because of the operation switch, which O’Connor said was called before 2 p.m., the coroner and California Division of Occupational Safety and Health officials would respond to the home to investigate, he added.
O’Connor said the victim was part of a crew of four or five workers.
Approximately 75 personnel from Orange and Huntington Beach Fire Departments, Anaheim Fire and Rescue, the Orange County Fire Authority and the Orange City Water Department were on scene.
Source: Orange County Register