A GRAVE digger had to be rescued by firefighters after he was partially buried in a hole.
The council worker was digging a grave in Stranton Cemetery, Hartlepool, when soil fell in around him.
The fire brigade had to be called to free him as his legs were completely trapped and he could not move.
It took a crew from Stranton Fire Station around half an hour to free the man, who was in his early 30s and said to be “shaken” by the ordeal but not injured.
An investigation has now been launched by Hartlepool Borough Council into how the grave collapsed at 10.15am yesterday and the Health and Safety Executive has been notified.
Crew manager Steve Kitching said: “The walls had collapsed and covered his legs. He was very lucky to not be hurt.
“It was quite difficult as we had to shore up the walls. We just used spades to dig him out.”
A council spokesman said: “At around 10.15am the lower part of a grave digger’s body became trapped while digging a grave at Stranton Cemetery.
“The man was shaken but after being checked over by paramedics at the scene he was not taken to hospital.
“The council is carrying out an investigation into the incident and the Health and Safety Executive has been informed.”