‘Very thankful’: Man survives being trapped in grain bin

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 8:47 PM CST
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COLGATE, N.D. (WDAY) - A North Dakota farmhand is grateful to be alive after being trapped in a grain bin.

The 20-year-old South African man got sucked in by corn while he was emptying the bin.

His employer, who was part of the rescue efforts, is thanking firefighters for saving the man’s life.

“Everybody did what they needed to do; we are very thankful,” said Jason Mewes, owner of Mewes Farm. “He [the farmhand] was in there so long that we wondered if he was going to come out alive.”

Mewes said he grabbed a tractor and rammed the bin to break it open. Hard enough to damage the tractor too.

A volunteer firefighter Aaron Reamer was the first rescuer to go into the bin.

“He [the farmhand] was still talking and breathing and able to communicate with us,” Reamer said.

According to Reamer, others also jumped into the bin to help secure the farmhand. Firefighters were on the outside working to cut more holes into the bin to slowly drain it.

An hour and a half later - the farmhand was freed from the bin.

“It’s a fantastic feeling to know that you saved a life,” Reamer said.

The farmhand was rushed to the hospital, and Mewes said he spent all night and most of the following day with him.

“He [the farmhand] is in pretty good spirits but a little bit sore,” Mewes said. “He’s got some corn in his lungs that he is coughing up, but I think he’s going to make a full recovery.”

Mewes said the family is eager to bring the man back home, as he has become a part of the family in the few months he has been there.

“We are just very thankful; it could have been a tragedy,” Mewes said.

The farmhand is expected to be released from the hospital this week.