A New York construction worker who became stuck up to his waist in mud while working on a local subway project Tuesday night was freed Wednesday morning after a rescue effort that took over four hours and involved over 100 rescue workers.
A crane lifted the worker out of the hole in a yellow basket around 12:30 am. He was wrapped in blankets, placed onto a gurney, and rushed to a nearby ambulance. The New York Times reports that the worker was conscious and rushed to a hospital, most likely due to hypothermia. The worker is now in stable condition. The worker fell into a deep hole at a construction site on Second Avenue near 95th Street. The worker somehow caught his foot in a frame used in the construction and sank into the mud.
The incident was first reported round 8:30 pm Tuesday. By 10:00 pm, the worker was secured with a rope to prevent him from sinking further. Though he was no longer in danger of drowning, according to New York Magazine, the pressure brought on by the tons of mud could affect circulation, causing blood clots and stopping blood flow. After securing the worker, emergency responders worked to remove nearby debris. Consolidated Edison contributed a truck equipped with an industrial vacuum to assist.
The mud provided a substantial challenge for the rescue workers. Some found that they would get stuck in the tunnel’s soft mud themselves. They used plywood to try to shore up the walls, but efforts remained challenging. Many early attempts to rescue the worker failed. By midnight, at least two firefighters were sent to the hospital with injuries sustained from the ordeal.
The Second Avenue Subway is a subway line with origins extending as far back as the first half of the 20th century, but the recent project began in 2007. The project is intended to reduce the daily traffic on the IRT LExington Avenue Line, which alone carries more riders than the entire Washington Metro system, the second busiest system in the US.
Crowds of onlookers and reporters gathered throughout the night to watch emergency responders rescue the subway worker from the 75-foot-deep tunnel.