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Crews Search For Man Buried In Trash, Dirt At Landfill

KERSEY, Pa. (AP) — Crews on Thursday were searching for a landfill worker who was buried when a mound of garbage and dirt slid down on the machine he was operating.

State police said the worker was driving a garbage compactor when the machine was buried in an avalanche of trash and loose soil about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. Crews were continuing search efforts Thursday afternoon.

The worker’s name has not been released by state police, the state Department of Environmental Protection or Advanced Disposal, the owner of the Greentree Landfill near Kersey.

Advanced Disposal, of Ponte Vedra, Florida, “is working closely with local EMS, fire, police, and first responders on the rescue efforts,” spokesman Mark Nighbor said in an emailed statement Thursday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with our employee’s family, friends, and co-workers.”

The company declined to comment on the circumstances of the landslide, or its regulatory history in Pennsylvania, because “all our efforts are focused on the rescue of the employee,” Nighbor said.

On Wednesday, a large portion of the landfill collapsed, “burying multiple workers and pieces of heavy machinery,” said Trooper Bruce Morris, spokesman for the Ridgway state police barracks.

By the time police arrived, “all workers except one known male employee had been accounted for,” he said.

Pennsylvania DEP records show the landfill, about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, was fined $8,500 in October 2015 for violations including one that alleged the dump was “not being designed, constructed and operated” to prevent hazards. The violation stemmed from an inspection that followed an unspecified “incident response.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what those hazards were, and DEP press secretary Neil Shader said he couldn’t immediately comment.

Nighbor, the company spokesman, said the past fines “are not related to safety issues” and that the October 2015 violations were not related to the collapse.

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(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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