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Worker chips away with hammer after being pinned by 1,000-pound slab of granite

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Pinned between a massive slab of granite and the wall of a cargo container, a worker who appeared to aid in his own extrication was rescued Tuesday afternoon in Fontana, Calif.

The 1,000-pound piece of rock, often used for countertops, was being delivered to a contracting company in Fontana. The trapped worker apparently was helping take the slab out of the truck when it split in two.

Crews from the San Bernardino County Fire Department cut open part of the truck's rear wall, allowing the worker to dangle his right arm outside the truck.

"As soon as they cut a section out, his arm fell out," witness Lucky Lira said. "At that point they were frantically trying to get him out."

The worker appeared to be helping rescuers break down the granite that was trapping him, at one point taking a hammer from crews to chip away at the rock.

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"He got quite lucky," said Battalion Chief Kathleen Opliger, who led the rescue. "When the granite came down, it formed an alcove for him, putting pressure on his lower extremities instead of his whole body."

Paramedics hooked up the man to an IV drip attached to what appeared to be a saline bag taped to the outside of the truck.

The man became trapped in the truck about 5 p.m. (8 p.m. ET) on Industry Avenue.

Rescue crews pulled the man out of the truck about 6:30 p.m. He appeared to be moving his arms freely and speaking with rescuers as he was airlifted to the hospital.

Witnesses called the rescue a "miracle."

"He grabbed hold of his rescuer, was trying to hug his rescuer, then did thumbs-up with both arms while we were trying to load him to the gurney," Opliger said.

The worker remained in the hospital late Wednesday. It was not immediately known when he would be well enough to leave.