This week in local history: Co-workers’ fast action saves man buried alive at Mary Jane
-Originally published in the Friday, June 6, 1975 edition of Sky-Hi News
Fast action by the construction crew on the Day Center building at the Winter Park Mary Jane project and by one man in particular saved a man’s life June 2 when a dirt wall caved in burying a worker.
Duayne Caswell, 19, of Denver, working for the Barton Brothers Concrete Forming Company, was buried shortly before noon Monday in three to four feet of dirt when an excavated wall at the basement entrance on the north end of the Day Building caved in and buried him facedown in a hole being dug for a cement pad. Two other workers in the hole jumped to safety.
The entire crew for Maher-Bonny Construction Company and men from Barton Brothers began digging with shovels and their hands to uncover the buried man. Large rocks and boulders also had fallen into the hole, a spokesman said.
A backhoe was used to move a large rock and workers spotted Caswell’s shirt. Workers then dug with their hands to uncover the man from the waist up.
Steven M. Hardy of Grand Lake, a laborer at the project, turned Caswell over and immediately administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Hardy said Caswell’s face had turned blue and he did not appear to be breathing. Spokesmen said Caswell was buried at least 10 minutes before being uncovered.
“I was praying and paying frantically all the time,” Hardy said. “It was Jesus Christ who brought him back if he was gone and not me.”
Caswell began breathing normally again as a result of Hardy’s actions.
Oxygen was administered and Caswell was conscious by the time Grand County Ambulance Service arrived from Fraser a few minutes later.
Caswell was flown by emergency helicopter to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver from the Winter Park Ski Area parking lot. Only 55 minutes elapsed from the time of the accident until Caswell was in Denver, a spokesman said.
Caswell was back on the job Wednesday, a thankful man.
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