BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After an hours-long effort, first responders recovered the body of a 20-year-old construction worker who was trapped in a trench in Clifton Park.
Officials were at the park located near Sinclair Lane and Chester Street in northeast Baltimore, where they finally recovered Kyle Hancock just after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, after nearly 12 hours of rescue efforts.
Hancock — who was a Baltimore native, graduate of North County high school and fan of Xbox and soccer — was buried more than 15 feet below ground.
“It’s the equivalent of a car collapsing on you, it’s a horrible death,” Steve Lanning of the Laborers’ International Union. “It constricts your body in a way that you can’t breathe in and you slowly suffocate.”
Although Hancock was not a member of the Laborers’ International Union, Lanning is concerned about whether proper safety measures were followed.
“If you’re going underground, anything under five feet requires some type of trench box shoring that will protect the workers down in that hole,” Lanning said.
The Baltimore City Fire Department said Hancock worked for the construction company R.F. Warder Inc., which had a contract with the city to fix a sewage backup at the recreation center at Clifton Park.
The company has declined to comment to WJZ.
Construction crews were working from Tuesday afternoon to recover the body. Hancock was buried alive when dirt collapsed on top of him as he was working.
“It appears that the hole the worker was inside, it was not properly shored up,” said Baltimore Fire Spokesperson Blair Skinner. “When we arrived at the scene, we didn’t see any protective barrier.”
Mayor Catherine Pugh said she met with the victim’s family and the recovery operation required experts from around the state.
“Most of the family members had decided that they did not want to see — I think his aunt stayed until the complete, and I know his father was there as well,” Pugh said Wednesday.
“Fifteen feet and no shoring, if that’s the case, and reasonable person in this industry would know that is just ridiculously unsafe,” Lanning said.
The cause of the collapse is under investigation.
A funeral service is scheduled for Sunday.