Employees killed after trapped in drain pipe at Virginia landfill


SUFFOLK, VA (WAVY) — Two landfill employees in Suffolk died Tuesday after they became trapped in a vertical drain pipe.

The incident is at John C. Holland Enterprises, Inc., off of Nansemond Parkway, and began around 11:45 a.m.

Crews from Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach were contacted to assist Suffolk Fire & Rescue in the rescue efforts. Now, the Suffolk Police Department and OSHA will be conducting an investigation.

Suffolk Police Spokesperson Diana Klink said crews were initially unable to reach the trapped individuals because of their location and the condition of the ground around the confined space. They used rope and harness equipment to try to rescue the men.

Nightingale was called to the scene Tuesday and put on stand-by. WAVY’s Chris Horne reports Nightingale left the scene Tuesday afternoon without patients. Around 2:30 p.m., police confirmed the employees had died.

Police have identified the employees as 35-year-old Eric O’Brien Williams, of Portsmouth, and 60-year-old Stephen Louis Wilk, of Moyock, North Carolina.

The pipe the employees were stuck in was 20 feet deep and 3 feet wide, according to Suffolk Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief Ted Adams.

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