More than 100 New York City firefighters, police officers and other officials worked for four hours last night to free a construction worker trapped 75 ft below ground in a muddy trench at the Second Avenue Subway site's 96th Street station. The worker, whose name has not been released, was removed from the scene in stable condition and taken to Weill Cornell Medical Center, says Maria Lamberti, a Fire Dept. of New York (FDNY) spokeswoman. FDNY was called to the scene at 8:32 p.m. on March 19, and the man was rescued at 12:28 a.m. March 20, she says.

The worker is from the joint venture team E.E. Cruz and Tully and was in "a section of very thick wet earth that had been excavated to about 50 feet below street level," says a spokeswoman from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which is investigating the incident along with other local authorities. MTA's 50 ft depth level of the incident is its initial estimate, she says, acknowledging the FDNY's 75 ft estimate.

MTA has halted all work in this section of the project until further investigation, she adds.

It took 133 firefighters with the assistance of a backhoe and a Con Edison vacuum truck to remove debris and free the worker from the site, Lamberti says.

Other incidents involving the SAS project include a mishap while blasting at the 72nd Street site last August that sent rock and debris flying above ground. Last April, a worker at the 86th Street station was seriously injured when he was struck by a slab of concrete that was being moved.