SEATTLE -- An Enumclaw demolition worker crushed under a massive slab of concrete last weekend is alive and expected to recover from his injuries, his family said Tuesday.
The accident happened on Saturday on the campus of the University of Washington, where workers from Rhine Demolition were tearing down the old Lander residence hall. A 10-by-30-foot concrete slab landed on the cab of the long-reach excavator that Gil Olson was operating.
”It looked like a pancake. I thought I lost my dad," said Olson's son, Shane, who works for Rhine along with his brother Brandon, and both were on the job site Saturday.
“We thought he was dead. I mean there’s no doubt about it," Brandon Olson said.
The excavator's cab was built for safety, equipped with bulletproof glass and a heavy steel cage to protect the operator. The glass held, and the steel frame provided enough protection for the 53-year-old Olson, but it still took firefighters 70 minutes to cut him out.
Olson suffered multiple spinal and neck fractures, a broken knee, lacerations to the head and a bruised brain. He is expected to make a full recovery.
“We keep getting good news," said Olson's wife, Renee. “In six months they’ll have a better idea of the recovery for his brain. Then you’ve got another year of recovery after that.”