Victims of Shoreline trench collapse identified

SHORELINE, Wash. — The bodies of two men who were killed in a trench collapse at a backyard construction site in Shoreline were recovered on Wednesday morning.

The King County Medical Examiner identified the men as 66-year-old David Ameh and 32-year-old Demetrius Sellers. Both men died of suffocation.

Shoreline fire crews were called to Northwest 163rd Street in Shoreline’s Highland Terrace neighborhood on Monday.

According to the fire department, a “very deep,” 20-foot-long trench collapsed, trapping and killing the men.

Shoreline Fire Chief Matt Cowan said the two men were working at the bottom of the very steep slope and believes dirt fell from the top.

Officials say shoring was used in the trench, but not a trench box, which is designed to keep dirt from caving in.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “When trenches reach a depth of 5 feet or more, OSHA requires contractors to use a protective system.”

“I’ve been in the service for about 30 years. I’ve been on trench rescues and so forth I have never had such a complicated site,” said Cowan.

Crews had been working to recover the bodies since Monday, with the two men being about 20 feet below the surface.

Cowan said without the proper equipment like a ditch box it could be dangerous and even deadly to try to dig the victims out.

The victims’ bodies were recovered at around 4:10 a.m. Wednesday and were taken to the medical examiner’s office.