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Medical examiner says man died from injuries in dirt mound collapse

The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office said today that a 40-year-old construction worker who was trapped by a collapsing mound of dirt at a residential construction site in Waialae Iki on Tuesday died of injuries from the falling dirt.

Gilbert Macalma, of Waipahu, died of trauma to his chest and abdomen from crash injuries due to a falling sheet of dirt, the office said. The manner of his death was an accident.

Macalma, who worked for W.A. Felix Builders, was standing in a trench with two other men as they removed dirt from a wall at 1908 Piimauna Place when the mound collapsed shortly before 10 a.m., officials said. The falling dirt trapped all three men from their knees to their chests and coworkers dug them out.

Macalma appeared to be in cardiac arrest and was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center where he died.

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is investigating.

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