HAMDPEN, Maine — The situation was dicey at times Tuesday afternoon as firefighters tried to remove a man stuck in sand in a V-shaped container used to mix concrete, Hampden fire Lt. Dan Pugsley recalled shortly after the victim was pulled out.
“Imagine a funnel,” the lieutenant said. “He was in a bin where everything is designed to funnel down. As we dug, it just kept falling back in around him.”
The situation was scary because the man kept slipping farther into the sand as two firefighters were in the bin trying to dig him out, Pugsley said.
The call for help at Sunrise Materials on Coldbrook Road came in around 1 p.m. Fire, police and ambulance crews responded and found the man, who was wearing a company hard hat, trapped in aggregate, a loose sand used in making cement, the lieutenant said.
“He was in a hopper about eight feet below the edge, completely submerged in sand,” Pugsley said. “It was up over his waist. He couldn’t climb out.”
Firefighters secured the man, described as in his late 30s or early 40s, with webbing and strapping and began to dig him out. But that caused the sand to collapse around him, pulling him farther into the bin, the lieutenant said.
The sand reached the man’s upper chest before firefighters started to make ground and were able to free him, Pugsley said.
The process took nearly 2½ hours.
“He was OK and he was talking to us,” the lieutenant said. “He was alert.”
The man, identified by an associate as Aaron McGinnis of Bangor, was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center, where a hospital spokeswoman said about 5 p.m. that he was still being evaluated.
By 7:30 p.m. McGinnis had been released, a hospital nursing supervisor said.
Bangor Fire Department’s heavy rescue unit was dispatched to help around 1:20 p.m. and Hermon firefighters also assisted, Pugsley said.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration personnel also were at the scene, the lieutenant said.