A worker, R. Satish, 34, of Erode, was killed when an earthmover severed his head in an attempt to rescue him after he was buried alive in a 13-foot-deep trench here on Friday. The loose soil caved in when he was involved in the laying of the underground drainage pipeline at Ramamurthy Nagar.
The worker, employed by a contractor, was standing in the trench dug up to lay the pipeline on B.T. Ranadive Main Road. The locals said the work had been going on for a year now.
C. Pragalanathan, 52, a resident, said the earthmover operator who hurriedly tried to scoop out the soil to save Satish inadvertently chopped off his head.
“In the first attempt, the operator removed a good chunk of soil and he did not expect the worker’s head to be at the top, and it got chopped,” he said. Immediately, the workers fled from the scene fearing public wrath. “Had the workers sought the help of locals in manually removing the soil, there would have been a chance to rescue him alive,” he said.
“Loose soil caved in and buried him alive,” said Corporation Commissioner Simranjeet Singh Kahlon, who rushed to the site along with Deputy Mayor T. Nagarajan.
Though the Corporation Engineer was not present at the site at the time of accident, one site engineer of the contractor was available, he said. Action would be taken against the erring officials after an investigation.
Fire and Rescue Services personnel recovered the body from the trench.
This is the second fatal accident involving workers, employed for the Madurai Corporation, within 45 days. On April 21, three workers were asphyxiated when they were working to fix an electric motor in a sewage collection well at Nehru Nagar.