PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A man is recovering after getting trapped in a grain bin near Pierre on Friday afternoon. KCCR Radio reports the man became trapped in the structure about 30 miles southeast of Pierre.
Pierre Fire Chief Ian Paul says firefighters arrived to find local residents already had a rope around the man so he wouldn’t sink any further in the 20,000 bushel bin that was three-quarters filled with corn.
Emergency workers first tried accessing the trapped man through the top of the grain bin. Firefighters tried to build a wall around the man and scoop out the grain inside the wall to extract him.
Rescuers then turned to cutting about five holes into the bin around the circumference to empty the bin. Paul says it was important to release the grain in an even and controlled way, so the man’s situation didn’t become more dangerous because of grain movement.
According to Pierre Fire Chief Ian Paul, the wet year has made grain bin safety even more important. As grain goes into a bin, it tends to clump and crust when the moisture content is higher. Farmers often have to knock it loose.
Dozens of rescue volunteers were on hand as was the Safety and Technical Rescue Association (SATRA), from Agtegra Cooperative. Paul said SATRA team members responded quickly from the Highmore area with more arriving from as far away as northeast South Dakota during the rescue that took nearly five hours. Agtegra has large grain elevators and other agricultural supply facilities across central South Dakota
The Hughes County Sheriff’s Office and the state Highway Patrol also assisted.