NCSU police ID worker killed in trench collapse
Posted November 21, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina State University Police Department on Wednesday identified the worker who died a day earlier when a trench collapsed at a work site on the school's Centennial Campus.
Luis Javier Martinez, 39, of Johnston County, was buried under several feet of dirt about 12:30 p.m. when a trench gave way.
Emergency crews arrived at the work site shortly after the collapse and determined that a rescue attempt was too risky, Raleigh Fire Department Division Chief K.T. Hocutt said.
This is an extremely technical rescue, not only a dangerous situation for the workers involved but for our first responders," he said Tuesday. "The initial rescue wasn't possible, so at that time it was determined this was going to be a recovery operation."
A backhoe moved soil away from the trench, and emergency crews used a compressor to suction it away. Crews also placed a blue tarp over the trench to shield the public's view as they removed Martinez's body about 2:40 p.m.
"Sometimes it's just too risky. You'll end up with multiple victims at the same time and with the shifting soil and fractures there it was to just too risky to go in before we could stabilize or remove the soil to gain access," Raleigh Fire's Frank McLaurin said.
Authorities said Tuesday that Martinez worked for JF Wilkerson Contracting in Morrisville. The work site was a City of Raleigh Public Works project, authorities said.
It wasn't immediately clear what caused the trench to collapse, and authorities have not released any other information.