Man pinned under backhoe for almost two hours; District worker is thrown into trench in accident


A District of Columbia man was pinned under a backhoe for almost two hours yesterday as search and rescue officials worked feverishly to extricate him from an 8-foot-deep trench, Anne Arundel County fire officials said.

The 45-year-old man -- an employee of the District of Columbia Department of Public Works -- was digging the trench at the Oak Hill Detention Center near Laurel when his backhoe fell in and he was thrown out of the equipment. He was working on an underground steam pipe next to the cafeteria at the District's prison for juvenile offenders.

Paramedics removed the man and airlifted him to the Maryland Shock Trauma center, where he is listed in serious but stable condition. County fire officials declined to release his name until they have notified his family.

Search and rescue workers from Prince George's County Fire Department and Fort Meade assisted the Anne Arundel County Fire Department in stabilizing the trench. It took them two hours to secure it.

"The reason why we could not just go in and get him out was because of the depth of the trench -- we had to ensure the safety of our personnel," said Chief John Scholz of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. The man is expected to survive, he said.

"He was moving when I saw him and was conscious and alert," Scholz said. "His chief complaint was neck, back and hip pain."

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