Emergency workers rescued a 37-year-old man Thursday after he became stuck up to his armpits in the muddy riverbed of the Arroyo Simi for two hours.
The accident occurred about 10:30 a.m. while Danny Jelenickie was working on a bridge-widening project on New Los Angeles Avenue, officials said.
After firefighters managed to pull Jelenickie from the muck about 12:30 p.m., he was taken to Simi Valley Hospital, where he was treated for numbness in his legs and later released, officials said.
Jelenickie, who works for Security Paving Co. in Sun Valley, was attempting to install a water pump to drain a portion of the swampy riverbed when he began sinking into the mud, said Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Fred Ponce.
The California Highway Patrol shut down two eastbound lanes of New Los Angeles Avenue, backing up traffic to Moorpark Road for several hours.
"You would dig out an inch, and two inches came back at you," said firefighter Chris Dumbauld, who was part of a crew that used shovels to help lower the water level before pulling Jelenickie out of the mud. "He was very patient and cool."
Firefighters said Jelenickie was conscious and responding to paramedics. Jelenickie was part of a crew working since April on the widening of the New Los Angeles Avenue bridge over the Arroyo Simi. The project is scheduled for completion in March.