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A road construction worker who was buried alive when a trench collapsed in Minnetonka, Minn. has died. Jimmy Klous, 48, of Onamia, Minn. was working on the Oakland Road reconstruction project when he and a coworker became trapped.
The death was confirmed Tuesday by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. The cause and manner of death are pending further investigation.
When a Minnetonka Fire Department rescue crew arrived at the site just after 10 a.m. Monday, they found one man buried in mud and dirt to his waist and learned Klous was completely covered and unresponsive.
"A lot of times with trenches, you just don't know what you get," Minnetonka Fire Chief John Vance said. "Unspoiled soil, excavated one time, void space, water leaks -- that was the project, working on water lines."
Minnetonka city officials confirmed Dave Perkins Contracting, Inc. was the lead firm on the project. The company declined to comment on the incident. OSHA is now investigating what went wrong and why. Rescuers report that there was no obvious trench reinforcement equipment.
The trench work is part of an Oakland Road reconstruction project that started the week of July 4, from the Oakland Road Bridge to Essex Road. The purpose of the project is to replace the aging water main system and to complete necessary sanitary sewer, storm sewer and roadway improvements.
The city of Minnetonka listed the following work as slated to be done the week of July 25:Water Main Construction: Pits will be excavated in the Area 1 roadway for the water main pipe bursting operation. These pits will be protected with concrete barriers; please use caution. Pipe for the bursting operation will be "fused" together. Pipe bursting work will begin later in the week. Storm Sewer Repair: Crews will repair storm sewer pipes and structures.
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