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"I believe he died instantly." Victim identified in fatal trench collapse

Corpus Christi Fire Chief Rocha is calling this a "horrible industrial accident."

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A man is dead after a trench collapsed Monday, Corpus Christi Fire Chief Robert Rocha said. 

The medical examiner identified the victim as Jason Villalobos, 21, from Houston.  

It was Monday afternoon when firefighters were called to Leopard St., right in front of Buc Stadium, after what chief Robert Rocha says was a horrible industrial accident.

"It was a difficult trench rescue,” said Rocha. “It was dangerous for firefighters to enter, but with the proper equipment and the proper training they were able to establish a safe area."

Fire crews worked nonstop to recover the body of the worker. Rocha said he believes Villalobos died instantly.

"Firefighters were able to get on scene. We noticed right away that it wasn't going to be a rescue, but that it was going to be a body recovery,” said Rocha. “We know right off the bat that we were facing a difficult circumstance. It was dangerous."

After nearly six hours of crews working to stabilize the trench, crews recovered the body of Villalobos.

"Firefighters were able to extract the body. We were able to successfully lift it out of the trench and we have subsequently turned the body over to medical examiner,” said Rocha.

The project that was being worked on was not a city project, it was a project through a private contractor. Rocha says there will be a local, state, and federal investigation. 

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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