ASHTON — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating a trench collapse that killed a 27-year-old man Tuesday evening.
The man, whom relatives and authorities identify as Fernando Romero Martinez, was in a trench installing plastic pipe for a drainage system in the Ashton area around 4 p.m. Martinez was working as a backhoe operator for Atchley Farms.
Another backhoe operator at the site told deputies he turned around to operate the machine and saw a 10-foot line of dirt suddenly collapse into the trench, burying Martinez.
Volunteers and emergency responders from multiple jurisdictions rushed to the area and dug for an hour until Martinez’s body was found. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
OSHA confirmed to EastIdahoNews.com on Wednesday morning that it has started an investigation but declined to provide further details.
Federal law requires any trench more than 5 feet deep to have cave-in protection unless the excavation is made entirely in stable rock. Officials have not said if a trench box or other protection was used in this case, and the name of the company doing the work has not been released.
Martinez is from Mexico and a GoFundMe page has been created by a friend “to bring him back home, to his daughter and family … where he can have a proper funeral and burial.”
*EastIdahoNews.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.