New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) suspended work on a section of the Second Avenue Subway project early Wednesday morning (March 20), following a dramatic four-hour rescue effort to save a worker who became trapped in saturated soft ground 75ft (22m) below ground at the project’s 96th Street Station Cavern.
More than 150 firefighters worked to free E.E. Cruz worker, Joseph Barone (age 51), after he lost his footing on plywood sheeting and sunk chest-deep into liquified clay material as he made his way through the 96th Street Station Cavern at about 8:40pm [EST] on Tuesday, 19 March. Barone was given drugs to keep him calm and a Fire Department chaplain was brought to his side during the ordeal.
Following a four-hour rescue effort, the worker was eventually pulled from the station box by crane at around 12:30am on Wednesday. Found to be suffering from hypothermia and other minor injuries, he was taken to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital, in Manhattan, where he remains under observation. Three firefighters also suffered minor injuries during the rescue operation.
E.E. Cruz/Tully JV is currently fitting out the fully-excavated 96th Street station cavern under a $324.6 million MTA contract. While some stretches of the invert have been poured with concrete the area where the worker lost his footing remains unlined.
The MTA announced on Wednesday afternoon that new safety measures will be required in the wake of the incident.
“We’re taking a number of precautions,” said Michael Horodniceanu, president of the MTA’s Capital Construction Company. The transit agency will now require workers to wear safety harnesses and mark unlined invert areas with warning cones.
A full account of the incident can be found on the New York Times web site: