LEAWOOD, Kan. — Johnson County emergency crews spent hours Friday afternoon trying to rescue a man trapped in a trench.

They were called to a construction area near West 103rd Terrace and Meadow Lane around 3 p.m. when a trench started to collapse on a man working in it. Crews eventually freed the man about two hours later.

Emergency crews said the worker was conscious the entire time and he was buried up to his waist in the 10-foot deep trench.

“These types of rescues are very tricky as we have to be very careful not to vibrate the ground in any way and trigger more dirt to collapse,” Leawood Fire Chief Colin Fitzgerald said. “Luckily, the worker is conscious and his breathing is not impaired, allowing us to concentrate on shoring up the walls. Obviously the high moisture content in the ground makes things harder.” 

A countywide trench rescue task force with specially trained emergency responders from the Olathe Fire Department, Consolidated Fire District 2 and Johnson County MedAct helped the Leawood Fire Department at the scene.

Leawood Public Works also sent a vacuum truck and several employees to help remove the dirt as quickly as possible.

Emergency crews transported the worker to a hospital as soon as he was freed.