May 30, 2023


Oct. 14–CAMDEN, N.C. — Firefighters have freed five workers who had been trapped in a Camden County grain silo.

The grain silo is on George Wood Farms on N.C. 343, said Lauren Copeland, spokeswoman for the Camden County Sheriff’s Office.

All five workers are in good condition, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and were being transported to Albermarle Hospital in Elizabeth City.

Initially, three men were trapped in the silo around noon, according to Michael Renshaw, Camden County manager. Two others went in to rescue the men and found themselves trapped as well.

The first one was pulled out around 1:30 p.m., and a second one was removed around 2:30 p.m., Renshaw said. The others were rescued around 4:30 p.m.

Rescuers were lowered into the silo, four or five at a time, with harnesses. They vacuumed out the grain and cut two holes into the back of the silo — about 3 feet by 4 feet — to help the grain escape more quickly, Renshaw said.

There are at least 11 silos on the farm, and the largest can hold hundreds of thousands of bushels of corn. The silo where the men were trapped had a capacity of 125,000 bushels. There were about 30,000 bushels in it today when the incident happened, Renshaw said.

The men trapped inside had corn up to their necks before rescuers could help them, Renshaw said. He said the corn is like quicksand.

Farm workers typically climb into the silos to push grain toward an auger inside. The grain can collapse around the worker and cause suffocation.

Silo entrapments were the cause of 26 deaths nationwide in 2010. Last year, the region was given two rescue tubes that can help free victims from grain.

Renshaw said tubes were being used in this rescue.

Copyright 2013 – The Virginian-Pilot

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