Two workers died in Boston on Friday afternoon after a water main break flooded the trench where they were working, according to the Boston Fire Dept.  

A fire department spokesman said firefighters were dispatched to the location at 12:56 p.m., which quickly “became a recovery operation.” At 4 p.m., the spokesman said “it’s still an ongoing incident, we’re still working to recover the two victims.” 

The workers reportedly punctured a water main before being trapped in a 12-to-15-ft deep trench as it quickly filled with water. “Workers were in the ground and the water let go,” the spokesman said. “How or why remains to be determined.” 

As emergency responders descended on the scene, water was removed with a large vacuum before a trench box was lowered to secure the walls to prevent the trench from collapsing, the spokesman said. 

Gary Einsidler, the owner of a drug store adjacent to the work site, saw water coming down the street at 1:06 p.m. “Water was coming out of the hole,” he said. “I saw a worker coming out of the hole all wet, all panicked, everyone was running all around.”

One of Einsidler’s employees said workers then tried to take a backhoe to knock off the metal plate that was partially covering the hole because water was filling the hole.  

Einsidler said “then all hell broke loose” as emergency responders arrived on the scene.