This is an article about a young man living in Iowa Falls, Iowa that suffered a nightmarish experience that could have snuffed his life out in a matter of minutes, according to a report by USA Today.
The man, Arick Baker, found himself in a life-threatening dilemma as he had to accept that he was going to die after finding himself trapped inside a grain-bin. He had heard all of his life that once you go down in a grain-bin death is the ultimate result.
I cannot imagine the many horrible thoughts Baker had to experience and live with as he waited for death to come. I know he was aware that when a person is trapped in a grain-bin, history was definitely against his surviving the experience.
A report from Purdue University reported that grain entrapments from 1965 to 2005 resulted in 74% of entrapments bringing about fatalities; and in recent years studies have stated survival rates did improve some but only modestly.
The Fire Chief Rick Gustin from Iowa Falls, Iowa was contacted about a person being trapped in a grain-bin; and he immediately knew his former experiences had ended up by not recovering a live person from the bin but a dead body.
Gustin didn’t hesitate to state, “Statistics tells people, they’ll get a recovery, not a rescue.”
It took rescuers about five hours to find Baker submerged in the corn; and to everyone’s surprise, he was actually lifted from the grain entrapment alive and fell onto one of the rescuers after being rescued.
Baker said, “He collapsed on the rescuer and began to sob as he realized that he was going to live.”
Baker, a 23-year-old man, living in New Providence, Iowa, who farmed in the area, went down into the 80,000 bush grain-bin on June 26, 2013 to remove some rotten corn that was blocking a hole and preventing corn from passing through; and unexpectedly, an air pocket began sucking him farther and farther down into the corn until he was engulfed in about 22,000 bushels of corn; and his trip to clear the hole became an immediate death trap.
Baker said, “In a matter of seconds, 18 inches to 2 feet of corn was above him; and his left arm was above his head, and he believed only an inch of his fingers could be seen.”
He said, “There was “no-one” around to help him,” knowing his Dad and a truck driver had driven away from the area, and he didn’t know when they would return. Here Baker stands in immediate danger of dying and struggling to breathe as 450 pounds of heavy grain pushed against his chest and body and there was “no-one” around to attempt a rescue.
He said, “He just thought about taking his next breath,” and saying, “It consumed all of his mind’s activity.”
Baker stated his doctors told him his heart was beating 173 time per minute, or 90% of his maximum, upon rescue.
The shock of the ordeal lasted for about 5 minutes while Baker was trying to grasp what had actually happened to him.
Farmers are constantly threatened by risks from accidents, but entrapment in a grain-bin is somewhat considered rare. According to the Purdue study, 20 to 30 reports nationwide per year, although it is believed that many more go unreported.
Baker credits his survival to a ventilation mask that his Dad had bought for him many years ago because he suffered from asthma as a child. The mask filtered out the dirty air and removed the dusk and mold, and “no” it didn’t provide any oxygen. He said, “It saved his life; and without the helmet;” and saying, “He would have been dead in less than 3 minutes.”
Baker’s Dad did not return for about an hour, and when he did return, he immediately noticed his son was missing. Baker didn’t respond as his Dad began to tug on the rope because his son was unable to move allowing his Dad to know he was alive.
Firefighters happily found the grain-bin where Baker was being held prisoner and they were grateful to know that “he” was “still” attached to the rope his Dad knew he had on when he had left him.
Baker told them he was in and out of consciousness but he woke up as soon as he heard the firefighters outside.
Once Gustin knew that Baker was alive, there was not anything that would prevent them from rescuing Baker from that grain-bin; and when they found his hand and head, they knew freeing him was far more risky than to just pull him out. The big problem here stated Gustin, “Is when the rescuers get in the grain, it’s just like water.”
When the firefighters began to remove the grain from around Baker, more grain formed in around him; and firefighters had to cut holes into the sides of the grain-bin so that the grain would fall out. They then tossed a “rescue tube” around Baker preventing corn from caving in around him; and three hours of digging and work, they finally removed Baker from that terrible grain-bin.
Baker was asked if he would ever enter the grain-bin again, and he replied, “You know I will because I’m a farmer.”
This incident caused the rescue team of firefighters in the town of Iowa Falls to conduct three specialty grain entrapment rescue classes to train their men.
Barbara Kasey Smith is the writer of this article base on a USA today news report.