A protester of the ongoing Enbridge Line 3 replacement project was rescued Friday after becoming perilously trapped in a trench.
The Virginia Fire Department reported the incident on its Facebook page, saying, "The soil was comprised of fine sand, which was actively sloughing into the trench placing this individual in peril of being buried alive as the wall continued to collapse."
The Arrowhead Regional Special Operations Urban Search and Rescue team was called to respond at 5:45 p.m. to a potential trench rescue emergency in Carlton County, the post said.
"A protester made the unwise decision to climb into an unprotected trench along the Line 3 pipeline," the post said. "This particular trench was 10 feet deep and 12 feet wide."
Officials from Carlton County Sheriffs Office, Carlton Fire and the Cloquet Area Fire District tried to convince the protestor to climb out of the trench to no avail, the post said.
The rescue team deployed trench rescue technicians and equipment to assist in safely removing the protester.
Upon arriving at the scene, the team began sizing up the trench, and how to best access the protester, for extrication. After team leadership "spoke directly and rather frankly with the individual in the trench about the risk he was in, he made (the) decision to exit the hazardous area."
The Virginia Fire Department thanked the Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office and the duty officer for coordinating with the Carlton County agencies.