WYANET — A farmer trapped in a grain bin was rescued by area first responders late Wednesday night.
According to Glenda Klingenberg, director of the Wyanet Rescue Unit, the man, whom she did not identify, had been stuck waist high in soybeans for about three hours before rescue units were called to the scene on the corner of Third and Maple streets.
Klingenberg said the man’s family attempted to pull him out, but had been unsuccessful.
Wyanet Fire and Rescue were called out around 7:15 p.m. They assessed the situation to see what additional resources would be needed, and ultimately decided to call Princeton Fire Department, which has a special tube used specifically for grain bin rescues.
Princeton Fire brought the equipment in and used it in the rescue. Michlig Grain also volunteered the use of its grain vacuum, which was used to suck beans out of the bin into a semitrailer to relieve the amount of grain around the victim.
Klingenberg called the rescue process “tedious,” as it ended up taking nearly two hours before units were finally able to lift the man up and out of the bin.
Klingenberg compared soybeans to wet concrete or quicksand.
“People have asked why we couldn’t just tie a rope around him and pull him out of there, but we couldn’t. He was stuck. He could not move his legs,” she said.
During the rescue, first responders stayed in the bin with the man and kept a close eye on his vitals. Klingenberg said blood pressure was the main thing first responders were worried about, because if it rose high and then the victim was pulled from the weight of the beans, the blood pressure could have dropped at a rapid rate.
Mutual aid was called to the scene so that firefighters could take turns going in and out of the grain bin to avoid inhaling too much bean dust.
Malden, Hennepin and Manlius fire departments assisted at the scene. Wyanet Police Department and the Bureau County Sheriff’s Department were also on scene.
After the victim was removed from the grain bin, he was taken by ambulance to Perry Memorial Hospital for evaluation. Fire departments and rescue units left the scene around 9:40 p.m.
Klingenberg said everyone was thankful for a positive outcome in this situation. She said in her 31 years of being an EMT in Wyanet, this was her second grain bin incident and the outcome was much happier than her first. The last one occurred more than 20 years ago when the body of a 19-year-old boy was recovered.
Princeton Fire Chief Chuck Woolley said area firefighters train for this sort of incident because this is a rural area. He said just like in the event of a structure fire, time is of the essence, so firefighters must be ready and know how to respond quickly.
Knowing these kinds of accidents could happened at any minute, Woolley said, many of the area fire departments have began purchasing equipment useful in rescuing trapped victims from grain bins.