Updated: Police name the victim, call Wichita bulldozer death an accident

Updated Wednesday:

Police have identified the man who died as 52-year-old Mike Unruh of Wichita.

Unruh owns an excavating business, according to Wichita police spokesperson Juan Rebolledo, who said Wednesday that police are labeling the death as an occupational accident. Rebolledo said Unruh was working when the death occurred.

Kansas Secretary of State records show a Mike Unruh as an owner of a Unruh Excavating in Moundridge.

Original Tuesday:

A 52-year-old man died when the construction bulldozer he was in slipped into a man-made pond.

The incident was reported around 10:54 a.m. Tuesday as a submersion call at a housing development southwest of the intersection of 53rd Street and Meridian in north Wichita, Wichita Fire Battalion Chief Jose Ocadiz said during a media briefing at the scene.

Several people at a house near the lake saw a bulldozer “going back and forth,” Wichita Police Capt. Ronald Hunt said.

“They were staying at a property just north of where this incident occurred,” Hunt said. “They were out back... and at one point it rolled back and went in the water.”

Those people called 911 and drove around to see if they could find the bulldozer and the man inside it, Hunt added.

Wichita fire divers were able to get the man out of the bulldozer, which was upside down in the water. The victim was in an enclosed cabin for over an hour, according to Hunt.

EMS performed CPR on the man but he was pronounced dead at the scene, Ocadiz said.

Wichita police are investigating what led to the accident and making sure it is safe to continue work.

“The pond is completely surrounded by sand and he was up on the embankment,” Hunt said. “It looks as though some of the sand gave away and his dozer rolled backwards.”

Authorities were still working to pull the bulldozer out of the water early Tuesday afternoon.

Contributing: Casey Loving of The Eagle