A city worker in Eutaw, Alabama, died as a result of a ground cave in that occurred in a ditch while he was working to fix a leak Tuesday evening, a local outlet reported Wednesday.
Tony Rice entered the ditch in the Branch Heights community of Eutaw but when the ground caved in underneath him, he was trapped, according to WVTM 13.
Corey Martin, a spokesperson for the City of Eutaw, told ABC 33/40 part of the issue crews sought to address in Branch Heights involved an array of terracotta pipes buried underground.
Officials said his body was removed from the scene at around 4:30 a.m. in the early hours of Wednesday morning, WVTM 13 reported.
City of Eutaw employee, Tony Rice, died Tuesday while working on a scheduled sewer project at the Branch Heights Community. https://t.co/cy7hWV8pbt
— ABC 33/40 News (@abc3340) April 27, 2023
Greene County Ambulance Service Director Christopher Jones told ABC 33/40 first responders attempted to dig to reach Rice but said “the water started coming in. It started causing the sides of the hole to start caving in. At that point, we knew it was more dangerous for us to be in there.”
Eutaw Police have initiated an investigation into the incident, the outlet reported citing Police Chief Tommy Johnson. (RELATED: Norfolk Southern Train Derails In Alabama, Temporarily Traps Crew Inside)
Martin told WVTM 13 Rice “drove the brush truck” before adding “I worked with Tony 80 hours a week, every week. And you couldn’t ask him to do nothing. You had to tell him to go home. He was just that kind of person.”
The spokesperson further emphasized the work Rice performed to help clear debris in the community after tornados passed through the area, according to ABC 33/40.
“Please pray for the Rice family and Eutaw. Our hearts are full of sadness,” reads an April 26 post to the City of Eutaw Facebook page.