Man killed, another rescued after trench collapses at Ballarat worksite

| 21.03,18. 06:41 PM |

Man killed, another rescued after trench collapses at Ballarat worksite

Photo: Rescue workers used heavy machinery to reach the man who was trapped.ABC News

A man has been killed and another was seriously injured after a trench collapsed while the pair was laying pipes at a worksite in Victoria's west.

The men were working near the Glenelg Highway at Delacombe, in Ballarat, when the trench gave way about 11:15am, police said.

One man in his 30s was killed.

Heavy machinery was brought in to widen the trench to free the second man, who was trapped.

The man, who is in his 20s, was buried from the waist down in the trench, which was five or six metres deep.

Victoria Police Sergeant David Hermit from the Ballarat CIU said it took a number of hours rescue him.

"It was quite traumatic for the male who has been rescued, he was conscious throughout," he said.

"The trench appears to be quite unstable.

"We were concerned for the rescuers [and did not want them] to put themselves in danger."

Sergeant Hermit said the pair was in the trench when they arrived and they don't know how they got there.

"It was a delicate and dangerous operation, and we had specialist crews and Worksafe on site," he said.

The injured man is in an induced coma with leg injuries and is in a serious condition at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Travis Bramble, a worker on a nearby site, said the men were doing deep excavation work to lay pipes.

Mr Bramble said he heard the men were working without a trench shield, a metal structure which is used to protect workers from cave-ins.

"This sort of stuff is very dangerous. From what I've been told, there was no shield. [For a trench] four metres deep, you've got to have a shield," he said.

"When I first found out I [felt] pretty sick. We actually saw them this morning standing by the trench."

Crews from Melbourne and Warrnambool were called in to help with the rescue effort.

The Glenelg Highway has been closed between Wilshire Lane and Masada Boulevard and diversions are in place.

WorkSafe Victoria has been notified and will investigate the incident.


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