Sidmouth rescue drama after man buried alive

PUBLISHED: 13:19 07 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:20 18 June 2010

A BUILDER emerged relatively unscathed after a trench collapsed burying him under clay this week. Emergency services rushed to the scene of the freak accident at Stadway Meadow, Sidmouth on Wednesday at 3pm. The 12 foot deep workmens drainage trench colla

A BUILDER emerged relatively unscathed after a trench collapsed burying him under clay this week.

Emergency services rushed to the scene of the freak accident at Stadway Meadow, Sidmouth on Wednesday at 3pm.

The 12 foot deep workmens drainage trench collapsed on the builder, submerging his whole body under four feet of clay.

Robert Crisp, Sidmouth Fire Station Watch Manager, was in charge of the rescue.

He said: "Obviously he was standing up at the time and when the trench collapsed it knocked him down.

"Fortunately what saved his life was the fact he fell in a crunch position - his head and chest were down to his knees which caused an air lock."

After ten minutes of frantic digging the man's head was uncovered and he was given oxygen by paramedics.

Mr Crisp added: "We could hear him. There were muffled noises so we roughly knew where his head was and we got oxygen to him as quick as we could."

Within half an hour the man was released from the clay and taken to Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.

It is believed the man, who is in his 30s, suffered from broken ribs and cuts and is recovering well.

Mr Crisp added: "He was very lucky. If he had fallen on his back it would have been very difficult for him to survive."

Four fire crews, the Urban Search and Rescue Team, two ambulance crews and Devon Air Ambulance were involved in the forty minute rescue operation.

And Mr Crisp has commended the dedication and determination of everyone who played their part.

He added: "The action of the fire brigade saved his life. Everyone involved worked well together and thank god there was a successful outcome."

A fire spokesman said the man had contacted the service thanking them for their help.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sidmouth Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Sidmouth Herald