AUSTIN, Texas - A construction worker died after falling into a sewer at a northeast Austin job site Tuesday. The man was working on the QuikTrip on East Parmer Lane, near McCallen Pass, when he fell into an open manhole.
“My understanding is that the construction crew was working in and around that, I believe it was open on purpose,” said Officer Michael Bullock with the Austin Police Department.
According to an Austin Fire Department official, the man was swept away in an 18-inch pipe by “fast” moving sewage.
Austin firefighters, using a rope system, were lowered into various manholes while attempting to locate the man. Officials say they had to “test the air” before firefighters were lowered down, though they still wore oxygen tanks as a precaution.
Their search was guided by Austin Water.
Eventually, Austin Water brought in robotic equipment to search.
Around 6:15 p.m., the man’s body was found at the Walnut Creek Water Treatment Plant in East Austin. The job site and treatment plant are about eleven miles apart using roadways.
Officials were uncertain of the exact distance via the sewer system Tuesday night.
Tuesday night, Austin police were investigating, though Bullock said nothing appeared “suspicious” about the man’s death. He said OSHA would also be investigating the workplace accident.