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Worker pulled from Valley Park cement plant

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VALLEY PARK, MO (KTVI) - A Valley Park welder was rescued Thursday afternoon, after he tumbled into an elevated gravel bin.

From below, concerned faces watched as the worker, tied to a stretcher, was slowly lowered to the ground.

“He’s a very hard worker, he’s a good welder, and he’s been with our company for about 18 years,” says Lois Hewkin, whose family owns Valley Park Welding.

The Valley Park welder was hard at work at the Valley Material concrete plant.  He was hired to fix a hole in the company’s gravel hopper.

But then, an emergency call came in around 3:30 in the afternoon.  This worker slipped off the ladder and tumbled eight feet into the gravel.  The fall knocked the welder unconscious, making a rapid rescue even more critical.  “We used one ladder to get up there, we used one ladder to tie the victim off and to extricate him from the gravel,” explains Valley Park Assistant Fire Chief Rolland Piotraschke.

Piotraschke says he was buried about waist-deep.  Concerns about a spinal injury led first responders to lower him in a neck brace and stretcher.  The assistant fire chief says, “It’d be like if you fell on a ladder working on your house. A lot of it’s gonna depend on what you fall on, or how you fall. There’s a realistic expectation that you could suffer really serious injuries from even what would sound like a relatively short fall.”

Within an hour, the welder safely touched ground, and was transported to the hospital.  All were relieved to see him talking again.

Hewkin says, “He’s a very good guy, and from what we understand, he’s gonna be ok, it’s not a life-threatening situation.”

No word if any lawsuits will be filed, or if the worker’s family is holding either company accountable for what happened.