News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 29, 2012

PHOTO UPDATE: Man trapped in grave under burial vault treated and released from hospital

The Tribune-Star

WEST TERRE HAUTE — A man who became trapped in an open grave under a 3,000-pound burial vault this morning escaped serious injury and was successfully extricated by rescue workers in less than an hour.

The man, Brent Laubert, an employee of Forsyth Bros. burial vault company, was trapped under the vault for about 50 minutes. He was later treated at Union Hospital and released.

The incident occurred at Bethesda Cemetery in West Terre Haute.

A preliminary investigation found that as workers were attempting to lower a vault into the grave hole, the small vault crane toppled, knocking the victim into the open grave. The burial vault then came to rest on top of the victim, according to Indiana State Police.

The Sugar Creek Fire Department responded and extricated Laubert with air lift bags carried on the fire apparatus and a small vault crane already on scene.

Air lift bags helped to stabilize the vault, allowing rescuers to pull Laubert from the grave.

Laubert worked for the burial vault and concrete company located on North Fruitridge Avenue in Terre Haute. The company was working with Fitzpatrick Funeral Home of West Terre Haute, making preparations for the interment of victims of a car-train crash last week in rural Clark County, Ill. Services for the mother and two of her children were scheduled for this afternoon, with burial at the cemetery.

Other agencies responding included the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department, West Terre Haute Police and Trans-Care Ambulance.

Visit for details as the story develops. See Thursday’s Tribune-Star for a full report.