SEATTLE (AP) — Five men working on a concrete wall at the site where a highway tunnel is being built under downtown Seattle fell about 25 feet when a wall of rebar gave way, a transportation department spokesman said Thursday.
Two Seattle firefighters walked about a half mile into the tunnel and carried out one of the injured men while the four others walked out, according to Kyle Moore, department spokesman. One of the men was not injured, while four others were taken to Harborview Medical Center, he said. One of the men suffered a fractured arm.
Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg said late Thursday night that a 23-year-old man was being admitted to an intensive care unit. He was in serious but stable condition, she said.
The other three men were being discharged, she said. The injured were described as between the ages of 23 and 36.
Moore said the department received a call at about 2 p.m. reporting that workers had fallen into an elevator shaft. When firefighters arrived, they learned that the men had fallen from a wall.
A television helicopter captured images showing Fire Department personnel carrying someone on a stretcher to an ambulance. Medical personnel were caring for another worker who was lying on the ground.
Lars Erickson, spokesman for the Washington Department of Transportation, said emergency procedures were followed.
The cause of the accident was under investigation.
The Seattle Tunnel Project has been plagued with problems and is about two years behind schedule. The accident was about 2 miles north of the 120-foot-deep pit that was dug to access the broken-down tunnel drilling machine called Bertha. Now that the pit is complete, Bertha is supposed to drill through 20 feet of concrete so its head can be pulled off and repaired.