CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - An apparent accident killed a man working to excavate a stormwater drainage area in Clearwater Monday afternoon.
Manolo Ruiz was working below-grade in a trench when a large steel plate, used for stabilizing the trench walls, fell. Ruiz was killed.
Rescue teams frantically went to work only to find their rescue mission would be a recovery. Now investigators are taking a closer look at what went wrong.
When his church family got the phone call, they rushed to where the accident happened. They're trying to get in touch with Ruiz's family in Mexico.
"He will be in a better place, that gives me comfort, but it is difficult for the people that saw the accident and I think that is a lot to deal with," said Ruiz's friend, Carolina Bravo. "The pastors knew him longer, about 15 years. They saw him like a son, so they are having a really tough time right now."
It happened in the 1400 block of Jeffords Street, just south of Glen Oaks Park. The site is part of the city of Clearwater's stormwater project. Keystone Excavators Inc. is the city's contractor.
The stormwater trench will lift 36 homes out of a flood zone. The project, which was set to be finished in year 2020 has been put on hold as OSHA workplace safety investigators look into how this happened, and if it could have been prevented.