A man was buried from the waist down inside an underground pipe when the steep dirt walls of a deep trench collapsed around him last night.
He was installing the pipe system at a private property on Landings Rd, Mangere when he noticed the banks of a deep hole starting to give way.
Papatoetoe fire station officer Ewen McRae said the man was standing in a hole being dug to lay the next 1m-wide pipe.
"They had a digger digging down to lay the pipes and he was standing [in the hole] to lay the next pipe and saw the banks collapsing and jumped in," he said.
"He saw the dirt coming and managed to go into the pipe but couldn't get his full body in when the dirt fell on him."
By the time emergency services arrived, shortly before 6pm, the man's co-workers had removed the dirt.
St John Ambulance and Fire Service staff climbed through the pipes to treat the man.
"He had injuries to his pelvic region and he was in a lot of pain," said Mr McRae.
Paramedics gave the man pain relief and fire crews hooked up a rope system.
"[Fire staff] assisted St John to put the guy into a Stokes basket - an orange plastic stretcher - and we connected lines and pulled him along the pipe to the bigger opening at the end.
St John did some more stabilising of him then we lifted him up the pipe and got him to the top."
He was taken to Middlemore Hospital in a serious condition, St John spokeswoman Olive Taylor said.