EAST HILLS, N.Y. – A man was rescued after spending more than four hours Tuesday trapped up to his chest in sewage waste after falling into a Long Island cesspool, authorities said.
The man, who was not immediately identified, was in stable condition after being taken to a hospital.
Assistant Roslyn Fire Chief Adam Boll said the man appeared to be in his 20s. Rescue personnel monitored the victim's vital signs throughout the rescue operation and he was always in stable condition, Boll said.
Authorities were called to the neighborhood of million-dollar homes on Long Island's so-called "Gold Coast" shortly after 11 a.m. Nassau County Police Detective Lt. Kevin Smith said the worker had apparently been inside the 18-foot hole, working to install a new cesspool tank, when the dirt walls surrounding him began to collapse.
A second worker became temporarily trapped trying to rescue his colleague, but was not seriously hurt, police said.
In addition to rescue workers from various local volunteer fire departments, the Fire Department of New York sent its excavation team to the site on Long Island, and Consolidated Edison and the Long Island Power Authority also sent equipment.
"He seemed pretty calm," Con Ed mechanic Vinny Bourne said of the victim. Con Edison dispatched a large vacuum truck to the scene to help clear dirt from the hole.
"They had a splint on his arm and he had an IV, but he seemed to be OK," Bourne said.
Students at a nearby elementary school were evacuated when a helicopter landed on school grounds.