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Three brother farmers fall into manure pit and die after inhaling fumes

Three brothers who worked at their family’s western Ohio farm were doing maintenance on a pump when they inhaled fumes and fell into a livestock manure pit.

Their mother spotted them unconscious and unresponsive on Tuesday and dialed 911 around 12.30pm.

Todd 31, Brad, 35, and Gary, 37, Wuebker were pulled from the manure pit by first responders that included a dive team, after roughly 20 minutes, according to WHIO.  

They were transported to Mercer Health Hospital, where they died.

‘Our hearts are with the Wuebker Family. Brad, Gary and Todd Wuebker lost their lives doing what they loved – working on the family farm,’ Mercer Landmark Inc, where two of the three brothers worked, said in a statement on Wednesday. ‘Brad and Gary were members of our team and had a work ethic like no other.’

The statement continued: ‘Brad and Gary will forever be missed as members of our team and will create a void that will be impossible to fill. We ask that you keep the Wuebker Family in your thoughts and prayers.’

A mass for the Wuebker brothers is scheduled for Monday at St Henry Catholic Church.

Manure pit fertilizers can emit toxic gases including hydrogen sulfide, methane, carbon monoxide and ammonia, People reported based on the National Agricultural Safety Database (NASD). 

‘Always treat a pit as if it is a death trap and take necessary precautions to protect yourself and others if entry is necessary,’ the NASD’s website states.

Manure pits are common on large livestock farms. They are used to store waste before it is turned into fertilizer for the fields.

According to the Ohio State University Extension, fumes from manure pits require people working near them to wear respiratory equipment because they can lead to headaches, dizziness, breathing trouble and death.

In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded 416 farmer deaths from work-related injuries.

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