Why a 72-year-old man was inside a corn silo, and how he died as it was being filled, is expected to be released Tuesday by police.
Fairfield, OH police and emergency medical personnel were dispatched to Groh Farms, 6371 E. River Road, just before noon Monday for a report of a man with an arm caught in a corn machine, said Officer Doug Day. But what emergency crews found was the aftermath of a 72-year-old who man who was trapped in the 25- to 30-foot silo as it was apparently being filled.
The man was pronounced dead inside the silo by investigators from the Butler County Coroner's Office, Day said. The man's name will be released tomorrow after the autopsy is conducted, he said. Day won't comment until after the autopsy on the relationship of the man to the owners of the farm.
The accident is a first for Day, a 21-year Fairfield police veteran.
"This is not commonplace," he said. "Typically we end up with a couple industrial accidents a year, but this is unique because we don't have a lot of farms."
Day said he believes Tuesday's autopsy will reveal the man died from asphyxiation, which is a rare occurrence in Ohio, according to data.
From 2001 to 2010, the latest available data, 229 people had died in farming-related accidents in Ohio, according to the Ohio State University's Agricultural Safety & Health Program. Only 14 of the 229 fatalities were related to grain handling and storage -- three of which were due to suffocation or asphyxiation.
Nationally, more than 900 entrapment cases have been recorded since 1964 and the lion's share of those people trapped ended up dying, according to researchers at Purdue University in a March 2012 report. From 2007 to 2011, there had been a reported 183 people trapped in grain silos in the country. About 43.7 percent of those trapped died, but in 2011 less than 30 percent of those trapped died, according to the report.
Media access was restricted by the police to the farm and calls to the farm were unanswered.
Investigators from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration were not on the scene, and were not aware of the accident when The Journal contacted the Cincinnati office.
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