Man rescued from grain silo mishap - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Man rescued from grain silo mishap

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ROPESVILLE, TX (KCBD) -

Local rescuers say a man is lucky to be alive after falling five feet and getting stuck in a grain silo Monday at Anderson Grain located between Ropesville and Wolfforth.

Around 2 p.m. the Levelland Fire Department got the call, and when they arrived shortly after they found the man stuck neck deep in the grain. "We train for different kinds of rescues, but this is the first grain rescue I've dealt with in 16 years," said Bill Durham, Levelland's assistant fire chief.

Aerocare was also called out, as rescuers hoped for the best but expected the worst.

"A lot of times this ends up being a recovery, because of suffocation. In this situation, the injuries are real minor compared to what he dealt with," said Kelly Vandygriff, Abernathy fire chief and grain rescue instructor. "He was in good spirits, he wasn't upset, wasn't panicking … he just told us he couldn't move."

The grain has fluid like tendencies, and the more you move the deeper you sink as the grain begins to compact against your body. "This guy was trapped up to his neck, so that automatically starts interfering with his breathing," said Vandygriff. "You can't just go in there, grab a hold of him, and lift him out  because the force that's exerted on the body is so strong that you can actually pull somebody in half because the pressure."

The man was given oxygen while rescuers built a box around the man with more than 10 ambulance back boards to keep out free flowing grain. Once the barrier was set, crews then began removing the grain inside the box that was surrounding the man.

"Had guys on the inside with buckets pulling the grain out from around him giving him a safety zone where he was able to breathe," said Durham.

After more than an hour, the man was finally lifted from the silo and transported by ambulance to a Lubbock hospital to be checked out.

Seven different crews assisted in the rescue including Sundown, Ropesville, Abernathy, Smyer, Wolfforth and West Carlisle.

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