New York Times
Nearly 100 feet below Second Avenue in Manhattan, workers have been blasting into bedrock to build a new subway line in New York City, slogging through mud and muck daily. Yesterday, when a worker lost his footing, a frigid mud akin to quicksand began to swallow him up, creating an extraordinary rescue challenge and daring improvisations by the Fire Department. In the end, it would take an amalgam of improvised solutions: ropes attached to mechanical advantages, a backhoe, a manual griphoist machine and scores of firefighters crouched in the slop digging out the man by hand to finally release him from earth’s grip. The New York Times’ report headlined To Save a Life, a Tug of War With the Earth is riveting. Here’s an excerpt:
“It was a hell hole,” said Lt. Rafael Goyenechea, a paramedic who quickly reached the worker and stayed by his side for more than four hours. “I was definitely worried throughout about possible drowning.”…
Three firefighters suffered injuries during the rescue operation, including one who was hurt after getting stuck in the same mud that held the worker hostage.
….Battalion Chief Donald F. Hayde, who directed the rescue for the Fire Department, said he had never faced a more daunting rescue.
“It was the most difficult technical rescue I have seen,” he said, noting that around 150 emergency workers were called the scene.
In the end, both medical workers and firefighters had to improvise a solution for a problem none of them had ever encountered — mud so thick and viscous that it simply could not be cleared away.
“We basically had to try every different technique we have been taught,” Chief Hayde said. read more…