And finally…grave error

An Aberdeenshire gravedigger had a more intense Halloween experience than he was probably hoping for yesterday when the walls of a plot he was digging collapsed and trapped him inside.

Emergency services had to be called when the man in his 20s was buried up to his waist in sandy soil and stuck for more than an hour.

Rescuers where forced to use their hands and buckets after the shored-up walls of the “deep” lair gave way as he and a colleague were working on it at Kintore Cemetery.

The alarm was raised shortly before 2pm – and the man was freed shortly after 3pm. He was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary by ambulance but his injuries are not thought to be serious.

His colleague was able to free himself before a fire crew from Inverurie arrived at the scene.

Fire service station manager Craig Cracknell – who led the rescue operation – said his team’s main focus was making sure more earth did not give way as they worked to free the casualty.

He said: “The men were in, digging graves. It was all shored up, but the shoring gave way.

“He was trapped from the waist down.

“One man made his own way out. One was trapped. Firefighters made the scene safe and dug him out. It was quite deep. He wasn’t too panicky, but he couldn’t get free.

“The only way to get him out was to hand-dig.

The council’s head of roads, landscape services and waste management, Philip McKay, said: “One of our team was taken to hospital this afternoon following an incident where the side of a lair collapsed while he was working at Kintore Cemetery, trapping him by the legs.

“At this time our colleague does not appear to have suffered serious injuries, but has been taken to hospital for further checks.”

Aberdeenshire Council has launched an investigation into the incident.

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