5 Die in Dairy Farm Manure Pit

July 5, 2007 at 9:33 am by  

Exposure to methane gas led to the deaths of five people, but whether they suffocated from the fumes or drowned in 18 inches of liquefied cow manure may never be known, authorities said.

Scott Showalter, 34, apparently was transferring manure from one small pit to a larger holding pond when a pipe clogged. About once a week, waste is pumped from the roughly 9-foot-deep pit into a larger pond. Showalter shimmied through the 4-foot opening into the concrete enclosure, which is similar to an underground tank. This is not an uncommon practice, but it is being speculated that heavy rains may have trickled into the holding pit, accelerating the formation of methane.

Amous Stoltzfus, 24, though that Scott was having a heart attack and alerted his wife before going in to help. Phyllis Showalter, 33, and her two daughters, Shayla, 11, and Christina, 9 all went in afterwards. They all died from either the methane, an odorless gas that can kill instantly, or from being rendered unconscious and drowning in the 18 inches of liquid cow manure.

I doubt this story will get the amount of comments as the dead cheerleaders, as their lives were far more important, but what the hell.

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