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Belton trench collapse victim’s body found buried eight feet down with no signs of life

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BELTON, Mo. -- It was expected to take several hours to get to a worker trapped in a trench that collapsed on him Thursday at a construction site near Fall Meadow Lane and Emerson Avenue in Belton. Late Thursday afternoon, firefighters found the worker after extensive digging:

According to the Belton fire chief, a construction crew was working on a new house. One of the workers was digging a trench from the house to the sewer line, using a backhoe.

The fire chief says for some reason the worker climbed out of the backhoe and went down into the trench to check something out. At that time, the trench collapsed on top of him.

Because of the amount of dirt and how heavy it was, the rescue squad is considering this a recovery mission, meaning they do not believe the individual is alive.

"There's a chance that he could be in a pocket, but what I'm afraid of if he's in a pocket that there's no air getting into the pocket," said the Grandview fire chief. (Scroll down for the interview with him.)

The fire chief says the man's family was quickly notified.  They came to the site and are waiting in a tent while firefighters try to reach the man.

Two firefighters are lowered into the trench and filling by hand an approximately five-gallon cloth bucket. The buckets are then brought up with a rope and emptied.

FOX 4 will be providing updates as firefighters continue their work. The accident happened at about 12:20 p.m. Thursday. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is on the scene and beginning its investigation.

First responders say a trench collapsed on a construction worker Thursday, Dec. 15.

First responders say a trench collapsed on a construction worker Thursday, Dec. 15.