Worker rescued from wastewater pump shaft

(Dec. 19, 2014) Rescue crews from multiple agencies staged a difficult rescue in Ocean Pines on Wednesday, pulling county wastewater employee James Bailey from a pump shaft after what was apparently an accidental fall.

At approximately 8:30 a.m., Bailey fell down the 20-foot shaft roughly three-to-four feet in width near the intersection of Ocean Parkway and Tanglewood Court. He had been working on the wastewater station behind Harbor Village.

Steve Grunewald, 1st assistant chief of the Ocean Pines Fire Department, said a call for help, coming from an unknown source, came at 8:39 a.m.

Within minutes, the Ocean Pines and Showell fire departments, as well as Worcester County Risk Management and Worcester County Emergency Services, arrived on the scene.

Three firefighters, using an aerial tower truck, made their way down into the hole to rescue the victim.

“Each individual had to be put in a full-body harness, and we used our tower truck to create a lifting system,” Grunewald said. “They were actually lowered down into the hole. The victim was secured and then brought up using the same harness system.”

Grunewald said the rescue efforts lasted about an hour and that Bailey was conscious and responsive.

He was treated at the scene for undisclosed injuries and airlifted to the University Of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore at approximately 9:30. The current condition of the victim is unknown.

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