Suffolk County police said that Rodwin Allicock was "leveling out the bottom" of a grave at Washington Memorial Park in Mount Sinai at approximately 8:30 a.m. when the grave gave way and buried the man alive.
His co-workers tried frantically to dig the 42-year-old out of the more than seven-foot grave as dirt fell in but were unsuccessful. It is not known how long Allicock was in the grave.
"Officers from the Suffolk County Police Emergency Service Section as well as Suffolk County Fire Rescue coordinators, representatives from the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, and members of the Middle Island Fire Department, Hagerman Fire Department, Selden Fire Department and Setauket Fire Department responded to the scene," Suffolk County Police said in a press release after someone at the graveyard called 911.
Allicock was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Center, police said.
The incident is under investigation by Suffolk County police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
No additional information has been released on the tragic incident.
The cemetery has been serving Long Island for more than 50 years, according to its website.