A teen died in a manure pit on his family farm in Pennsylvania Saturday when a piece of farm equipment that he was operating flipped over in a mucky pit, trapping the teen in a four foot manure pond for over an hour. The boy was asphyxiated and pronounced dead at the scene.
Reports The Associated Press, via ABC News: “The Lancaster County coroner says Jonas King was operating a skid loader Saturday morning when it flipped into the pit on his family's farm in Leacock Township. Police say the boy was completely submerged when emergency personnel arrived. It took rescue crews more than an hour to pull him out.”
The victim, Jonas King, a youth from the small town of Intercourse, ten miles east of Lancaster in Amish country, was belted into the skid loader and moving manure from the barn to the pit when it sank and toppled over. A towing company had to be brought in to pull the loader out; King was still bucked to the driver’s seat.
Says the Lancaster Online: “According to a witness at the scene, fire crews removed the skid loader with the assistance of a wrecker from Null’s Towing. The equipment was resting upside-down with only its wheels visible atop the pit, which is about four feet deep.”
The journal also reported that since 1989, there have been a total of six local individuals who have lost their lives after either jumping or falling into manure ponds.
Last fall, 35-year-old David F. Stoltzfus fell into a 10-foot manure pit while trying to unclog a pump. Officials said at the time that methane gas emitted from the pit likely disoriented Stoltzfus, who fell in and then was unable to pull himself out.
“Methane fumes are highly toxic and flammable and very dangerous,” Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni said on October of last year. “Exposure to methane fumes can cause loss of consciousness, asphyxia, death, and present a significant hazard for explosions. The danger associated with methane fumes is widely underestimated.”