A man in his 60s has died after getting trapped in a gravel hopper at Enon Sand and Gravel in Bethel Twp, officials said.
Jacob King, fire chief of the Bethel Twp. Fire Department, said the man, an employee of Enon Sand and Gravel, located at 1665 Enon Road, had reportedly noticed a conveyor belt that was not working under a hopper. Initial reports indicate he may have climbed to the top of the hopper to attempt to dislodge gravel before falling in.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office was the first to respond to the scene and two deputies began attempting to free the man, King said. The hopper is made of heavy steel, which made dismantling the hopper for rescue difficult.
Crews from Clark County, Enon-Mad River Twp., Springfield Twp. and Bethel Twp. responded to the scene and had to work together to attempt to free the victim, but initial rescue attempts were unsuccessful.
“We had to switch from rescue to recovery,” King said.
King commended the collaborative work of the crews that responded. They all took responsibility for different parts of the operation to try and free the man. Our crew on the scene reported that crews used a torch on the side of the hopper. King said crews were both working to disassemble the hopper from the outside as well as dig gravel out from the inside.
The victim was recovered after crews disassembled a conveyor belt below the hopper.
“This unique incident really brings out the best in our first responders,” King said. “The first two deputies that arrived on the scene immediately went to work trying to save the individual inside the hopper, without the help of the two deputies, we would still be working at this point, I believe.”
The incident is under investigation by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The man’s identity has not yet been released.
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