Body of Hillsborough worker found after ground collapse - WFLA News Channel 8

Body of Hillsborough worker found after ground collapse

Posted: Updated:
Ground collapse at 520 Teco Rd. Ground collapse at 520 Teco Rd.
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - A construction worker who rescuers thought could be buried alive was found dead late Thursday night.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Deputy Chief of Operations Mike Guincho said teams found John Rose, a PCL Construction worker in his 50s, about 6 to 8 feet below the surface of the ground.

"As we were vacuuming a certain area - we thought we had identified a body part. We continued working that area a little bit and it ended up being his shoulder,” he said. “We were able to notice the safety vest he was wearing so at that point - it was obvious we had found the victim."

Crews responded to the accident at 1:40 p.m at the South County Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is located at 520 Teco Rd. in Ruskin, after the ground gave way under Rose near a newly constructed pipeline. Two other workers were nearby when it happened and one of them tried to save Rose by holding onto him.

“The other person saw him go into the hole, held his hand for a few minutes and lost him,” said Fire Chief Ron Rogers.

Into the night, teams still considered it a search and rescue mission, hoping that Rose was alive underground.

“There is a small possibility he may be in the pipe,” Rogers said earlier in the evening. “There is a potential for him to be in there somewhere in an air pocket.”

Rescue crews used sensitive microphones to listen for any movement or cries for help. The site is about 25 yards from the interstate and they couldn’t hear anything but the traffic at one point. Therefore, they closed I-75 north and south bound for a brief time to be able to listen.

Rose's wife and mother-in-law were on scene as rescue teams fought through the wind and the rain in an effort to find Rose alive.

“They're getting some support from the co-workers and their church family and I think they're holding up pretty well,” Guincho said.


On Friday, PCL issued the following statement from Luis Ventoza, Chief Operating Officer of civil infrastructure:

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of PCL employee John Rose at the South County Water Treatment Plant expansion site project in Ruskin, Florida yesterday. We have extended our deepest sympathies to the family of Mr. Rose. We are offering support to the family in the immediate aftermath of this tragic event.  

PCL Civil Constructors Inc. is doing everything it can to investigate this incident and is assisting with local authorities. At this early stage of the investigation, we have no further details other than what has already been reported by the authorities.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.  Rose's body will go to the medical examiner to determine a cause of death.

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