Lifestyle & Human Interest

First Responders Race to Rescue Man Trapped for Hours Partially Submerged in a Sinkhole


A construction crew working in Port St. Lucie, Florida, had a close call Friday when the pump stopped working in the waterlogged area they were trying to clear.

According to Treasure Coast Newspapers, the group was clearing the land for development near Northwest Gilson Road, and part of that area included a sandy, watery hole. As they worked on it, one of their crew members got stuck in the sinkhole.

The pump had stopped working, too, and while at first it was just the man’s leg that was caught, the water level kept rising.

Realizing he was in great danger, the rest of the crew rigged up a crane to support the man’s body and keep him upright, and they called for reinforcements.

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The St. Lucie County Fire District got the call shortly before 2 p.m., and firefighters, police officers and utility workers were soon on their way to help the trapped man.

First responders worked on freeing the man for two hours, and workers used buckets to try to drain water from the area. By that time, the water had crept up to the man’s chest, and the fire department outfitted him with a breathing apparatus.

After those two hours of painstaking work, he was free and was taken to a nearby hospital to get checked out. All signs point to him doing well after the terrifying incident, but it was an emotional roller coaster for all involved.

“It’s one of the most draining rescues I’ve been a part of,” St. Lucie Fire District Chief Nate Spera said. “There was a lot of emotion when we were able to pull him out.”

“He was underwater most of the time we were there.”

The fire district shared photos of the rescue, showing just how serious the incident had been.

“PSL At 1:55 PM several units were dispatched to a construction site near Becker Rd / Gilson Rd for an individual in chest high water and trapped inside a 30 ft hole,” the St. Lucie County Fire District posted.

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“SLCFD, Martin County Fire Rescue, Port St. Lucie Police Department, and the City of Port St Lucie Utilities worked together for over 2 hours to extricate the patient successfully- who was transported by air to a local trauma hospital.”

A woman who identified herself as the victim’s wife commented on the Facebook post to thank those involved in his rescue.

“Thanks everyone for saving my husband life,” Oquendo Noemy wrote.

Several people responded to her comment, one even saying that her son had been there helping and that he had been impressed with the victim’s character.

“[S]o happy that your husband is going to be ok,” Cinda Hare wrote. “My son was one of those assisting and said that he’s never met a man who fought so incredibly hard to survive.

“He is a fighter and a hero!! My best to you and your family.”

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