UPDATE: The two victims have been identified as Russell Lee Godfrey, 53, and Christopher James Godfrey, 30.

One man is dead and his father is injured after a trench they were digging collapsed in on them Monday afternoon, Oct. 9.

The men were replacing a sewer line on Jordan Street near the intersection with Division Avenue in Wyoming.

Investigators say they had dug a deep trench to replace a sewer line without doing anything to shore up the side walls. When it collapsed, the father was buried up to his waist and his son was under about three feet of earth.

“He was twisted digging into the dirt,” says next door neighbor Margaret Skeel making a digging motion with her hands. “He was buried half way up to his waist so he couldn’t get out. He was digging and he was so upset. He kept calling ‘Ken, Ken.’”

When a trench is more than waist deep, investigators say safety regulations require side wall shoring. This ditch was at least twice that deep.

“Well below that depth, probably down a good eight to ten feet with no reinforcement on those sidewalls,” explains Battalion Chief Collin Kelly of the Grand Rapids Fire Department Technical Rescue Team. “It sloughed off and buried both of them in the hole.”

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