WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Rescuers worked to recover two workers trapped in grain bin Tuesday afternoon in the 5700 block of South Hoover Road at Gavilon Grain. It started around 2:30 p.m.
Officials confirmed that both workers have been removed from the grain elevator and were pronounced dead at the scene.
Wichita fire crews, working with the Sedgwick County Fire Technical Rescue Team spent hours trying to recover the workers.
“We had multiple units and agencies called to where we could have the correct resources here to try and gain access to them,” said Sedgwick County Fire District 1 Deputy Chief Larry Tangney.
Tangney said grain vacuums were used to remove about 20 to 25 feet of grain.
The two victims, whose bodies were recovered around 5:00 p.m., have not been identified.
“They were found towards the middle, in the bottom of the grain bin,” said Deputy Chief Tangney.
Deputy Chief Tangney says it is incidents like this that they train for regularly.
However, he says there were several obstacles they had to overcome.
“The access points, we never have great access points to find people or to gain access to where they may be,” said Deputy Chief Tangney. “We had a difficult time. We were able to use some equipment that implements around here to help us get up and gain access to one of the entry points and we were able to utilize their equipment around here to help us gain access to these bodies,” he added.
Many people know the elevator formerly as DeBruce grain. On June 8, 1998, a grain elevator explosion killed seven people and injured 10 other employees. Here is an OSHA report on that explosion.
A spokesperson for Gavilon issued the following statement:
An unfortunate accident occurred this afternoon at the Gavilon Grain facility in Wichita, Kan., that resulted in the fatality of two workers. Immediate family members have been notified. The company’s thoughts and prayers are with the workers’ families and loved ones. Our immediate concern is on caring for the families of the workers, conducting our internal investigation, and cooperating with the appropriate authorities in their investigation of the incident.