KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Two men survived a trench collapse in Powell. It is a feat that the rescuers on site describe as remarkable.

Two men were trapped under several feet of ground at a construction site on East Beaver Creek Drive just before noon Thursday. It’s right next to the Evergreen at the Bluffs apartment complex.

Thursday evening, after eight hours of rescue operations, the two were freed.

“Patient number one was buried basically up to his shoulders. Patient number two was completely buried,” said John Whited, the Rural Metro Fire Department’s rescue chief. “I’ve been doing this for a long time in Knox County and we’ve never had one this deep in Knox County that can survive, and that’s absolutely amazing.”

On Friday morning, Rural Metro said one of the men had already been released from hospital. Another was still there.

“When they got into that squat position, that’s really what saved them. Because it was kind of like a position you see, the airline industry tells you to go into a crash position with head between your knees or as close to your knees as possible, and it’s kind of like that. So it gave them an air pocket where the dirt was on top of them,” the carrier said. word of Rural Metro, Jeff Bagwell.

The first responders in charge of the operation explained to us what they did and why they had to do it.

“With any rescue operation like this, a trench rescue, we first have to stabilize the site. And then you use shoring, which is being able to hold down the walls of the trench. Then, we will begin our excavation process to remove casualties,” Whited said. thaw temperatures and freezing temperatures, the composition of the soil has a lot to do with it, and it will cause it to lose its cohesion and try to fall on you.

Whited said he couldn’t say if they saw any signs of a trench box in place and said all the shoring our crews saw was done by emergency response personnel .

Still, the big message is relief and gratitude.

“It’s gratifying to know that we had a successful mission. That we were able to change the course of someone’s life, basically,” Bagwell said.

We have also contacted the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration as the office is conducting this investigation. A spokesperson said TOSHA is reviewing the circumstances that led to the collapse of this trench to determine whether the employer was meeting all safety and health standards at the time of the incident.