SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) — Two trapped construction workers made it out alive after a trench collapsed Friday morning at Byrnes High School.
Spartanburg School District 5 said the incident happened just before 10 a.m.
“Just before 10:00 today, we had regular construction going on here at Byrnes high school. This is part of a major renovation and rebuilding project at Byrnes that’s taking place in our district,” said Melissa Robinette, Director of Public Relations at Spartanburg Co. District Five. “So, it was just a normal day of construction here, and we learned that two construction workers that worked for construction company were working in a hole…a trench of some kind when the walls around them gave way and collapsed,” she said.
One man was able to free himself and another was taken to the hospital.
Robinette said the men works for McKnight Construction company, and not for the district.
The Town of Duncan Fire Chief Barry Forst said the rescue took a little over two hours, but officials were able to rescue the second worker. He was airlifted to the hospital.
“They were approximately 18 to 20 feet down. From the time it was dispatched to the time we got both victims out; it was 2 hours and 9 mins. You got to understand I know that’s a lot of time, but when you’re doing a trench rescue, you’re literally shoveling dirt the size of a campfire shovel, putting it in buckets and we had to work our way down,” said Chief Barry Frost, Town of Duncan. “One of the victims was trapped from the waist down, the other victim was trapped from the shoulders down. So, it took time to get that,” Chief Frost said.
When asked how lucky the two construction workers were, the fire chief said, “extremely lucky. Most people do not survive this.”
“Fortunately, both of them are out. We are very glad to be praying for them and not over them,” said Dr. Randall Gary, Superintendent, Spartanburg County District Five. “This could’ve turned out differently. They’re both receiving medical attention at this time. They’re both conscious. They’re both responding. So that’s very good news,” he said.
Both men have been released from the hospital.
According to the Lyman Police Department, no students were injured and the school itself is secure.