Collapsed trench nearly kills Utah man

By Kim Johnson

Published 04/14 2014 04:11PM

Updated 04/14 2014 05:50PM

MURRAY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – A Utah worker is recovering after being buried in thousands of pounds of mud.

After five days, Luke Marti is finally out of intensive care at IMC in Murray. On Wednesday, the 34 year-old Sandy husband, father of three and body builder's world collapsed on top of him.

“I saw it coming, I knew it was coming and I braced myself,” he said.

While on the job installing a backyard pool in Centerville, a trench collapsed, trapping him chest deep in mud and water, crushing and breaking his bones.

“I was fighting unconsciousness the whole time, spells would come and everything would just close in, it was just like a dream, everything would just close in on me,” he said.

Firefighters came, but the unstable trench was too dangerous for them to reach Marti who was told it'd take another hour to set up the shoring needed to keep the mud back.

“Right when the fire fighter told me that I realized that I didn't have that long,” said Marti. “Something told me that you've got to get yourself out of here or you’re going to die.”

Marti says one image gave him the strength do what he did next.

“I almost had a family portrait just like installed in my mind and I got everything I had to lean forward and start trying to wedge my right leg out from under me,” he said.

With a shattered pelvis, a severed spleen, a broken collar bone and ribs, Marti pulled himself to safety.

“It was excruciating pain,” he said. “Whatever firefighter grabbed me first, it felt like an angel.”

Firefighters there that day walked away in awe. “It's an amazing story of the human spirit,” said Chief Jeff Bassett, South Davis Metro Fire. “We had all the material there ready to do the rescue and he just had that will to survive.”

At the hospital, a cat scan revealed Marti lost half of his blood. Doctors said he shouldn't have lived, had it not been for his physical strength from weight lifting.

But Marti believes the motivation to pull himself from the mud came from within.

“The thought of my boys never left my mind, almost like they were at the finish line,” he said.

Marti is expected to go home from the hospital this week. He has a long road of physical therapy ahead. A fundraiser to pay for his medical costs will take place May 10 at Complete Nutrition in Sandy.

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