SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A contractor working on a San Francisco sewer project died Thursday near Divisadero and Oak Street after being trapped underneath 8 to 10 feet of dirt and concrete.
Despite the efforts of close to 50 firefighters, the weight of the dirt and concrete from the trench collapse was too much for the contractor to survive.
Firefighters attempted to rescue the contractor for close to two hours.
"Everyone is shaken about this," said Rachel Gordon, San Francisco Public Works communications director.
Around 10 a.m. Thursday, the call came in, initially for a building collapse. First responders quickly discovered something else.
"This was a street side utility construction site that had a collapse within the footprint of their street side project," said Captain Jonathan Baxter, San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson.
The fire department says one person was trapped under 8 to 10 feet of dirt and concrete.
Firefighters used a street vacuum to suck the dirt up.
"It's a very high-powered vacuum that's able to facilitate removing debris quicker than I'd we had to do it by hand," said Baxter.
They also used plywood to disperse weight and shore the sides of the area within the confined space rescuers were working in.
By noon, with the help of paramedics and Cassie, a human search and rescue detection canine, it became clear it would be a recovery mission.
"This person was trapped under a lot of weight with no oxygen for over two hours," said Baxter.
Gordon says the project was a San Francisco Public Utilities Commission sewer upgrade project being managed by San Francisco Public Works. The individual trapped was a private contractor.
She did not know the name of the contracting company.
"We'll be here as long as we have to be here. We want to make sure that we know exactly what happened, we want to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again, we never want a construction accident. Safety is our number one priority," said Gordon.
The medical examiner arrived on scene to remove the contractor's body, with the investigation into how this happened ongoing, including by CalOsha.
On Thursday afternoon, Mayor London Breed visited the area to look at the trench collapse.
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