Rescuers from the Lexington Fire Department freed a construction worker two hours after he became trapped Tuesday in an 8-foot-deep trench next to a house off Lakeshore Drive.
Kevin McHone, 39, an employee of a company called Junk Monkey, was digging in compacted wet mud when "the spoil pile fell in on him," Battalion Chief Randy Gilliam said.
McHone was working on a leak in the basement of a house that backs up to the lake, off a small cul-de-sac named Siesta Cove. He was working with another man who immediately sought help by running across Lakeshore Drive. Neighbor Lynn Price called 911 at 12:48 p.m., she said, while the men who were working on her kitchen cabinets and landscapers working elsewhere in the neighborhood ran to the site to try to help McHone.
George Cummins of Inside Out Design said he and his three assistants found McHone with his neck above the mud. They tried to remove some of the debris before the fire department arrived. They described it as "very thick and claylike."
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McHone was trapped below his shoulders when the first trucks arrived, Gilliam said. His vital signs were monitored, and he was "doing fine throughout" the rescue. McHone was cold because he was outside and it was raining, Gilliam said, but he was not in any pain.
The trench rescue team from the fire department led the rescue effort, which involved more than 20 firefighters and 17 response vehicles.
Throughout the early afternoon, firefighters continuously removed large blue plastic buckets of mud from around McHone and inserted stabilizing wood planks to keep the mud away from him. It was methodical and calm. McHone's fiancée was allowed to be near the rescue site and speak to him. Emergency medical personnel stood by with a body board, which they used to take him out of the hole before placing him on a stretcher and quickly to a waiting ambulance.
McHone was taken to University of Kentucky Hospital for observation. He was listed in good condition Tuesday night.