Police say man trapped in Bel Aire trench collapse has died

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BEL AIRE, Kan. (KAKE) -

Authorities say a man who was working inside a trench when tons of dirt fell on him has died.

The collapse happened Wednesday morning at 53rd Street North and Industry Drive in the Wichita suburb of Bel Aire. Police Chief Darrell Atteberry said the man was at the bottom of the trench when between 16 and 20 tons of dirt shifted and fell on top of him.

Workers tried for hours to rescue the man, including digging with heavy equipment and their hands to reach him.

Attebery said in an update at around 3:30 p.m. that the man had died. His body was recovered about 45 minutes later.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is on the scene investigating.


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Authorities says rescuers are working to extricate a person following a trench collapse in Bel Aire.

The collapse happened at around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at 53rd Street North and Industry Drive, east of Webb Road. Bel Aire Police Chief Darrell Atteberry said the man was at the bottom of the trench when between 16 and 20 tons of dirt shifted and fell on top of him. 

In an update at 2 p.m., Atteberry said crews were using their hands to reach the man.

"At the time of the incident, we knew pretty much exactly where he was and marked that location. They've been using heavy equipment and now they're...using small implement and hands to get him removed from the hole."

He said the man's family is "grieving at this point" but "still holding on to hope."

The man is between 25 and 29 years old. His condition wasn't released, but @WichitaFire.org said in a tweet that he was unresponsive.

Wilks Underground Utilities was working to install a pipe, Atteberry said. The trench was about four feet wide and 10 to 12 feet deep. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was on scene investigating. 

KAKE News has a crew at the scene. Check back for updates.

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