A suburban public works employee tragically died after he got trapped in an underground vault that filled with water due to a water main break on Thursday, February 23. The unfortunate incident occurred at the intersection of 60th Street and Deming Place around 12:40 pm just an hour after the first responders were called to the scene. The worker, who was identified as Matt Heiden, was immediately rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Village of Westmont said in a press release that the worker was unresponsive when he was pulled from the underground vault. Although emergency responders prepared a desperate rescue effort, it was already too late by then, and nearby residents could only watch the entire incident helplessly.

‘It was pretty, an emergency situation”

“Everybody was running, frantic trying to get something done, doing what they were supposed to be doing. You could tell that it was, that it was pretty, an emergency situation from the very beginning,” said Sue Jay, a local resident, according to ABC7. “To lose somebody like that that you think is just going off to work for the day is sad,” Jay said.

Who was Matt Haiden?

According to the officials, Heiden had worked for the village since 2019 and recently became a permanent water maintenance worker. He attended Westmont High School, where he was a student athlete before graduating in 2020. “Hard working, humble. He played baseball, and he was well-liked by his classmates, and his family is very admired by the Westmont community,” said Principal Jack Baldermann.

Westmont officials expressed their condolences in a statement to his family and loved ones. Flags were lowered to half-staff at the village hall. A probe has been launched to find out what happened and how Heiden became trapped.

A similar incident

MEAWW previously reported that Rayan Awram, a five-year-old Moroccan boy trapped in a dry, 105-feet well for more than four days, was brought out dead in an unsuccessful rescue effort. It is unclear when exactly the boy died. The exact cause of his death was not disclosed. During the days it took to dig him out, rescue workers reportedly lowered food and water to the child. However, it is not clear whether he was able to eat and drink while being trapped.

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