A freak accident killed a county supervisor Tuesday morning when a grain bin malfunction caused an avalanche of corn to crush him. Harrison County Sheriff Pat Sears said 63-year-old Russ Kurth and another worker were inspecting the door of the grain bin which had been leaking when it failed and exploded open pouring tons of grain onto Kurth while his coworker managed escaped.
Sheriff Sears also said the bin had recently been filled and when the door failed it caused grain to come gushing out like an avalanche burying the county supervisor. Fire and rescue units responded to the accident but it took more than an hour to get him out of the grain. A recent study at Purdue University showed that yearly injury and fatality reports due to entrapment around confined agricultural are increasing. One woman in Russia was recently boiled alive by chocolate when she fell in a giant bowl of the molten dessert.
Purdue University documented 29 accidents involving grain entrapment in 2016. 11 of the accidents were falls into or from grain storage buildings, 10 were due to asphyxiations in toxic environments and 8 involved becoming entangled in equipment in confined agricultural places. These deaths are a 25 percent increase from the ones reported in 2015 and the most common entrapment accidents involve corn.
There are 10,000 commercial grain sites and 300,000 storage units on farms in the US according to Progressive Farmer magazine.
William Field, Purdue professor of agricultural and biological engineering, says, "It takes only a matter of seconds to be consumed by a moving grain flow."
Field described how grain can be fatal and the exact cause of death saying a person will try to keep their mouth closed when submerged in grain but eventually they will inhale a kernel in their nose which will cause them to involuntarily open their mouth. That's when the grain pours in your airway and death is inevitable. There's no eating your way out of 10 tons of grain.
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