SEATTLE — Emergency crews were called to the northern part of the SR 99 tunnel project Thursday after four people were injured in an accident at the construction site.
The men were hurt on the project around 1:30 p.m. in the 300 block of Aurora Avenue North when a portion of an elevator wall they were standing on collapsed, sending them 25 feet to the ground, Seattle Fire Spokesperson Kyle Moore said.
Three of the injured workers crawled their way out of the pit, Moore said. Another required rescue from the Seattle Fire Department, and he was carried out on a gurney. He was transported to Harborview Medical Center.
The three other workers that managed to crawl their way out were also transported to Harborview, but only suffered minor injuries. All four of the patients were men, ages 23, 29, 31 and 36.
The patients were all listed in satisfactory condition suffering injuries to the arm, back and neck, according to Harborview Medical Center spokesperson Susan Gregg.
Firefighters said the rescue took quite some time, as emergency workers said the walk to the accident scene was a quarter-mile long. Moore called the fall “significant.”
It was unknown if the wall's collapse would cause a long delay in construction of the SR 99 tunnel, or potentially affect the ground around the site. The Washington State Department of Transportation released this statement following the injuries:
"We are still gathering information, but Seattle Tunnel Partners has informed us that an incident has occurred on the SR 99 Tunnel Project job site in the north portal area. Safety is STP's and WSDOT's number one priority. Right now, their field crews are focusing on making sure the site is secured. Emergency services were notified immediately and arrived at the site after the incident.
We will provide additional information as it becomes available."
For months the world’s largest tunnel-boring machine has been damaged and sitting idle underneath Seattle. Setbacks have plagued the multibillion-dollar project.
In January, contractors completed a 120-foot deep access pit to reach the damaged machine.
Once contractors reach Bertha, they will replace the machine’s damaged cutter head and try to get it digging again.
Stay with Q13 FOX for updates on this breaking news.