A Pennsylvania teen died over the weekend in a manure pit when farm equipment overturned and trapped him. Police ruled the boy's death in the waste pit as a tragic accident, the sixth of its kind since 1989, citing an updated August 11 Lancaster Online report.
The 15-year-old boy was performing chores on the family farm Saturday morning. At some point, while he operated the heavy machinery, the loader flipped over and became partially submerged in an animal manure pit. Despite rescue efforts, he died on the scene. Huffington Post said the farm equipment is used by farmers to remove waste from barns.
State Police officers, along with volunteers in Lancaster County, responded to the farm located at 239 Centerville Road. Upon arrival, only the wheels of the equipment were seen. The rest of the front end loader was buried in four feet of waste. Sources say it took rescuers about one full hour to retrieve the front loader from the murk.
According to the county coroner, the deceased teenager drowned in the pit of manure, and was still secured in the compartment of the machinery with the seat belt.
The teen's cause of death was due to asphyxia or suffocation, based on the results of the death investigation. However, the full events that led to the incident have not been released at this time.
Over the last 25 years, county records show that six local residents have died by either jumping or falling into manure dumps on farms. The CDC has some informative literature on its site that outlines how to prevent accidents on farming equipment.
Ironically, there is no federal or local mandate or regulation of animal waste reservoirs, but after the recent death of the teen that died in the manure pit, the law may be changing.