A Tennessee man was rescued from a grain bin after he became 90% engulfed in corn kernels and crews raced to free him, firefighters said.
In a Facebook post, the Ethridge Fire Department said that around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, crews were sent to a farm on Henryville Road to rescue a 70-year-old man who owns the farm.
Authorities said that they found that the man was entrapped in the corn near the middle of the large grain bin.
Images from the scene showed crews shoveling piles of corn in an effort to finding the missing man.
After locating the man at the center of the grain bin, crews deployed metal tubes to help stabilize and secure him.
Crews then used a vacuum truck to remove the corn from the bin so that the man could be removed by emergency personnel through the access door of the bin, authorities said.
The Fire Department said that the patient was checked by Lawrence County EMS and eventually released without injury.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said grain handling is a highly hazardous industry, with suffocation being the leading cause of death.
“Suffocation is a leading cause of death in grain storage bins. Suffocation can occur when a worker becomes buried (engulfed) by grain as they walk on moving grain or attempt to clear grain built up on the inside of a bin,” according to an OSHA website on handling grain. “Moving grain acts like “quicksand” and can bury a worker in seconds. “Bridged” grain and vertical piles of stored grain can also collapse unexpectedly if a worker stands on or near it. The behavior and weight of the grain make it extremely difficult for a worker to get out of it without assistance.”
The Ethridge Fire Department thanked the workers and commended their “great teamwork and great training” in the rescue.
“Great teamwork and great training played a very vital role in today’s rescue,” the Ethridge Fire Department said.