Construction worker dies after trench wall collapses on him

Author:
Updated:
Original:

A 51-year-old construction worker was killed when a trench wall collapsed and hundreds of pounds of wet soil fell on the man.

In a news release, the Lakeville Police Department says Gerald Lyle Thompson was working on the residential construction site on the 9000 block of 179th Street around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday in Lakeville.

Thopmson, of Apple Valley, was working with his brother Tuesday afternoon – both are affiliated with DSM Excavating of Hastings.

Drain tile was being installed on the perimeter of the lot, police say, when a wall of the trench collapsed on to Thompson. The amount of soil that fell on to the man reportedly weighed about as much as a small car, according to police, and was wet at the time.

His brother and other nearby workers tried to rescue him, but were forced out of the trench by collapsing soil.

First responders were called, and there they found a man trapped in the bottom of the 6- to 8-foot-deep trench.

The area was too unstable for police and fire officials to mount an immediate rescue as well, and had to wait until the trench wall was stabilized.

At that point, a fire fighter was lowered to the man with an excavator, but the man was deceased. It took two hours for recovery teams to dig away the sides of the trench. The victim's body was recovered around 7 p.m.

The site was made safe before responders left the scene.

Lakeville police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will investigate the cause. More information is expected Wednesday.

According to OSHA statistics, there were 4,101 worker fatalities in the private sector in 2013 – and of those, one-fifth (828) came in the construction industry.

Falls (302), being struck by an object (84), electrocution (71), and getting caught in or between things (21) were the top four causes of death for construction workers that year.

In the past 10 years, across all job industries, OSHA figures show 15 people were killed when a wall collapsed.

Next Up

ambulance

State Patrol investigating fatal crash near Duluth

The crash was reported around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday.

eden prairie police squad car

Carjacking reported outside shopping center in Eden Prairie

One of the suspects reportedly displayed a weapon.

court gavel

8 people charged in Medicaid fraud scheme totaling $860K

Collectively, they're charged with 46 counts of felony theft.

vaping

Minnesota gets mixed grades on its tobacco report card

In Minnesota, the economic cost due to smoking is $2.519 million with 5,910 deaths per year attributed to smoking.

Hardy Wills-Traxler

Charges: Man stabbed his father, set his home on fire

The 25-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson.

Impound lot

Crowded impound lot raises COVID concerns after Minneapolis snow emergency

A vehicle owner complains about the tightly-packed impound lot following the weekend's snow.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, Jan. 27

The latest update from the state health department.

charley's

Charges: Bar owner, employee served underage drinkers during shutdown

The bar hosted 20-30 people on Dec. 4, 2020, charges say.

police lights

Driver wearing bulletproof vest strikes pedestrian in Rochester

The 21-year-old claimed the vest keeps him warm, according to police.

Related

Minnesota man dies in trench collapse in Wisconsin

The 22 year old from Hastings died on Saturday.