Two city of Las Vegas utilities department employees were killed Wednesday morning when the ditch they were working in collapsed on them, City Attorney David Romero confirmed.
Gene Hern and Frank Romero died at the scene.
"We are still in shock and trying to address the needs of all concerned, including family members and coworkers," Romero said. "The primary concern now is for the families of the deceased."
He said Hern and Romero were working on a sewer line near Cinder Road and Palo Verde when the accident occurred.
Frantic efforts were made to rescue the two, but the men died at the scene, Romero said.
As of noon, crews were trying to shore up the ditch so that the bodies could be removed.
"All the city members and employees and council people are in shock over the loss," Romero said. "We have never, to my knowledge, had such a tragedy occur. We grieve with the families."
Romero said the incident has been reported to the proper authorities, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency that investigates workplace accidents. The city is also investigating the accident.
Due to the accident, the City Council and Housing Authority meetings scheduled for Wednesday evening have been canceled. The city also closed its utilities department on Wednesday, allowing workers to go home. Billing and other utilities related matters can be handled at the city's main office on Grand Avenue, Romero said.
Mayor Alfonso Ortiz and City Manager Timothy Dodge were personally calling family members of the deceased workers to express condolences and see what the families needed.
"These individuals were highly respected and known for their hard work and professionalism," Romero said of the two men who died.