Keith Johnson, Deseret News
Rescue personnel carry away an injured excavator. Officials reported he may have a broken ankle.

MURRAY — An excavator miraculously suffered relatively minor injuries Friday morning after approximately 100,000 pounds of concrete retaining wall blocks collapsed in the area where he was working.

"He said, 'I don't know how I made it through this.' He is a very lucky individual," said Murray Deputy Fire Marshal Russ Groves.

About 7:30 a.m. the man was working on a small wall near 4650 S. 200 West where new apartments are under construction. The man was in front of another retaining wall that was made of large blocks weighing about 2,500 pounds each, stacked on top of each other in four to five layers.

For an unknown reason, the dirt ground gave way near the base of the retaining wall, causing approximately 40 blocks to collapse and fall toward the victim and another worker.

The victim was able to avoid most of the falling blocks, except for one that came to rest on both his ankles and pinned him, Groves said.

Heavy-rescue crews from Murray Fire, West Valley Fire and the Unified Fire Authority responded. One of their biggest concerns was a Bobcat that was on top of the retaining wall and fell during the collapse. It was on the verge of teetering over onto the rescuers and had be stabilized with metal poles to prevent it from falling. It was unknown Friday if the weight of the Bobcat on top of the retaining wall caused it to collapse.

Air bags and leverage poles were used to free the injured worker, who was then loaded onto a stretcher, taken to a waiting ambulance and then to Intermountain Medical Center. He was alert and talking during the entire incident but very stressed, Groves said. He was taken to the hospital with possibly just one broken ankle, according to officials.


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