Pulled to safety

, Posted: Tue, March 4 2014 at 8:16 AM, Updated: Tue, March 4 2014 at 8:39 AM

Portland, Ore. -- (KGW) Emergency crews rescued a worker who was trapped under rubble for 3 1/2 hours after a utility trench collapsed in Washington County, Oregon fire officials said.

Crews finally managed to pull Danny Russu out of the ground just after 2:30 p.m. Monday.

He was taken by ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Hospital where he is listed in serious condition Monday night in the intensive care unit. 

Russu, 21, of Gresham and two other men were working in the sewer line trench, which was about 11 feet deep, in the 1700 block of Southwest Bowmont Street when it collapsed. Two men escaped but Russu was buried.

"He was completely buried under 600 pounds of dirt," said homeowner Leonard Gebbie, who saw it all unfold.

Ryan Bird and another coworker frantically clawed at the dirt until they managed to uncover Russu's face so he could breathe. They also braced themselves against the side of the trench to keep it open.

"Once he could breathe, he was just kind of in panic mode but I wanted to make sure I didn't take too much out so more falls in," Bird recalled.  "He is a very religious guy and he was crying and shouting prayers."

Neighbors called 911 and paramedics responded quickly, giving Russu intravenous fluids and oxygen while firefighters worked to safely remove dirt around him.

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