Officials with Occupational Health and Safety are investigating, after a man was buried under dirt and clay Tuesday afternoon, launching a lengthy rescue effort that ultimately was not successful.

Emergency crews were called to a construction site in the area of 107 Avenue and 123 Street just before 5 p.m. Tuesday, after a 55-year-old man was buried under dirt and clay in a trench on the site.

Officials later said it was believed the man was digging a sewer or water line when the trench collapsed.

Crews worked for several hours trying to reach and rescue the man.

District Fire Chief Doug MacDonald told CTV News during the rescue operation that rescue team members had to shore up the sides of the trench during the rescue to ensure the sides didn’t cave-in.

“The technical rescue crew team shored up the sides so there was no more chance of a cave-in and then they went down with shovels and pick axes started digging through the clay until they found him,” MacDonald told CTV News at the scene.

The man was reportedly found standing upright, buried under six to seven feet of clay in the 10-foot deep trench. He was pulled from the trench at about 11 p.m.

Early Wednesday morning, Occupational Health and Safety confirmed the man had been pronounced dead and a fatality investigation was underway.

Barrie Harrison with OHS told CTV News the investigation will include looking at the trench to see if laws were being followed.

“These laws are in place for a reason, clearly there are hundreds or thousands of trenches built around the province every day and when the law is followed these things shouldn’t be happening,” Harrison said.

Investigators are speaking with witnesses and the victim’s coworkers to find out what happened, and to prevent similar incidents.

OHS said the investigation could take up to two years, and it could take several weeks before its known if anyone was at fault.

If it is determined there was any element of neglect in the incident, charges could be laid or the company could face fines ranging from tens of thousands of dollars, to hundreds of thousands.

With files from Brenna Rose