OSHA launches investigation into deadly trench collapse - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

OSHA launches investigation into deadly trench collapse

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A crane near the construction accident. (Photo credit: Courtney Smith) A crane near the construction accident. (Photo credit: Courtney Smith)
The fire department arrives at the scene. (Photo credit: Courtney Smith) The fire department arrives at the scene. (Photo credit: Courtney Smith)
(Photo credit: Courtney Smith) (Photo credit: Courtney Smith)
Allen Thomas, 46. Photo courtesy of family. Allen Thomas, 46. Photo courtesy of family.
James Jackson, 50. Photo courtesy of family. James Jackson, 50. Photo courtesy of family.
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration returned to Columbus Tuesday to continue gathering information into Monday's deadly trench collapse. 

OSHA tells News Leader 9's Roslyn Giles it is conducting a physical inspection of the work site at Summit Pointe where the trench gave way.  The crew was building an additional phase to the complex.

OSHA said it must complete its investigation within 6 months and issue any findings concerning whether any OSHA standards were violated.

Coroner Buddy Bryan confirmed that James Jackson, 50, and Allen Thomas, 46, died after being trapped in a trench at Summit Pointe Apartments on Williams Road. They worked for the company Allen Development Group.

On Thursday, August 29, Bryan confirmed that asphyxia was the cause of death, and they were both accidental.

A 20-man rescue team tried to save the two construction workers trapped in a hole at the apartment complex's construction site, according to Fire Marshall Chief Ricky Shores. The men, who were relatives, were at the apartment complex constructing a new phase.

The men were using a tamp to pack in the dirt. Six people were in the trench at the time. Four escaped and tried to help the other men get out. Both bodies have been recovered and will be sent to Atlanta for an autopsy. A backhoe was used to shovel out the dirt. 

Jackson's son, Mike, was working with his father at the time. He was operating a backhoe when the incident occurred, and tried to help his family. 

Shores says the trench is 30 feet deep, but the men were trapped 12 feet under. He says they had to be careful because the composition of the soil, compaction of the soil, and lack of retaining walls could cause more victims. 

View our photo gallery here.

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