Tooele man pinned under excavator in eastern Summit County ‘miraculously’ escapes injury
A 47-year-old Tooele man miraculously escaped serious injury Wednesday night after being pinned under a large piece of construction equipment for more than an hour in eastern Summit County, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident in Rockport Estates, west of S.R. 32 and adjacent to Rockport Reservoir, at 9:08 p.m. after dispatch received a report of an injured man. The Park City Fire District, North Summit Fire District and medical teams flown in on two AirMed helicopters from the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City were also on scene.
Lt. Andrew Wright, with the Sheriff’s Office, said the man was using a mini excavator to build a retaining wall. He was moving cement blocks down a steep incline when the excavator began to roll, ejecting him and pinning him underneath the machinery. Emergency responders made several attempts to lift the excavator off of the man, using airbags and even the Jaws of Life to cut through the cab, Wright said, before a deputy suggested calling a tow company in Coalville. The tow company was eventually able to lower a cable down to the machinery and lift if off of the lower part of the man’s body without causing any further injury at around 10:35 p.m., Wright said. The man was able to move both of his legs once the excavator was removed.
“Based off of the size of this equipment and the fact that he had been under there for hours, we were thinking the worst,” Wright said. “There was even a surgical team from AirMed that was brought in. But, once they lifted it, there wasn’t even any damage. They were all amazed. I was listening to the radio and heard a deputy say, ‘I cannot believe this. He is moving his legs.’”
The man was still air lifted to a Salt Lake area hospital as a precaution, Wright said. But, he said, the man did not sustain internal damage, referring to his injuries as scrapes and bruises.
“It was pretty miraculous,” he said.
Law enforcement on scene attributed the man’s lack of injuries to soft soil from recent rains, Wright said. He added, “Maybe the ground was able to create a buffer around his body to lessen the impact.”
Wright referred to the industrial accident as fairly uncommon. He said based off of the amount of construction that occurs in the county, similar accidents are seemingly rare.
“We get calls where someone falls from scaffolding or sustains an injury from a power tool,” said. “But, something significant like this doesn’t happen that often. For the most part, these people that do the construction work understand the terrain and what they are dealing with. We don’t typically see something like this.”
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