RUSKIN (CBSMiami/AP) — Rescue workers in Hillsborough County have recovered the body of a construction worker who fell and became trapped in the mud at a Tampa Bay-area water treatment plant.

John Rose was walking with co-workers Thursday along a trench at the Ruskin plant when he either slipped or the ground gave way. The rain-soaked ground caved in around Rose even as a co-worked tried to pull him out, said Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief Ron Rogers.

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Rose’s body was found after an eight-hour attempt to free him from the sand and mud. Rescue workers had hoped that Rose might have found an air pocket or crawled inside a 30-inch-wide pipe in the bottom of the trench.

“He was in 6 to 8 feet of sand and mud,” said Fire Rescue Deputy Chief of Operations Michael Guincho. “He had been in a bad situation for a long time.”

Guincho said Rose apparently died of suffocation. An autopsy will be performed by the medical examiner.

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It wasn’t clear what caused the ground to open up beneath Rose. Guincho said heavy rains and recent digging to install the pipe may have been to blame.

Rose’s hometown was not released. Authorities said his relatives were on the scene with officials from his employer, PCL Construction.

A regional manager for PCL Construction, Richard Hewitt, declined to release additional details. “We are aware that there has been an incident on site and we are providing any assistance to authorities involved,” Hewitt said.

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