T Nation

5 Die in Virginia Farm Manure Pit

Uhhh worst way to die ever, and also not such a bright family.

RICHMOND, Va. �?? Deadly methane gas emanating from a dairy farm’s manure pit killed five people, including four members of a Mennonite family, authorities said.

Emergency workers speculate each of the victims climbed into the pit in a frantic attempt to rescue the others. “It was a domino effect with one person going in, the second person going after them,” Sheriff Don Farley said.

Farley identified the victims as Scott Showalter, 33; his wife, Phyillis, 34; their children, Shayla, 11, and Christina, 9; and Amous Stoltzfus, 24, who worked at the Showalter’s dairy farm in the Briery Branch community.

The accident began Monday evening when Scott Showalter tried to transfer manure from one small pit to a larger one, measuring 20 feet by 20 feet and 8 feet deep.

At some point, the pipe that was transferring the manure became clogged, and Scott Showalter climbed in the pit to fix the blockage, Farley said. He apparently was overcome by methane gas, which is a byproduct of the liquefied manure, Farley said.

Emergency workers believe Stoltzfus climbed into the pit in an attempt to rescue Showalter. When the two men didn’t come out, Phyillis Showalter and then the couple’s two daughters apparently made their way in, all succumbing to the deadly gas.

Why on earth did they all follow each other to their death? You would think after the first 2 they would have called for help…

[quote]CrewPierce wrote:
Uhhh worst way to die ever, and also not such a bright family.

Why on earth did they all follow each other to their death? You would think after the first 2 they would have called for help…
[/quote]

No SHIT!

If that were you family, wouldn’t you be crazed enough to in after them. Shame they all died.

[quote]WolBarret wrote:
If that were you family, wouldn’t you be crazed enough to in after them. Shame they all died. [/quote]

Of course I would try, but not before calling 911. Why would the mother go in and leave the kids though?? I know she would want to save her husband, but surely she could have at least told the daughters to call for help and wait for the police. I dunno just seems like there were a lot better options than what happened.

Lol,My eyes are playing tricks on me. I thought it said “5 Virgins die in manure pit” That sucks thought but I guess thats Darwin doing its job. R.I.P

[quote]mr_slick wrote:
… I guess thats Darwin doing its job. R.I.V[/quote]

Possibly

:slight_smile:

What a shitty way to die

Bullshit Kills.

[quote]CrewPierce wrote:

Why on earth did they all follow each other to their death? You would think after the first 2 they would have called for help…
[/quote]

This kind of stuff happens far too often when working in a confined space. They should have had an O2 monitor and a retrieval system to haul the first worker out.

The first thing you learn in confined space training is never go in after someone (unless you have an oxygen supply).

As this seems to be a family farm they tend to bend the rules everyone else must follow.

A real shame.

[quote]CrewPierce wrote:

Of course I would try, but not before calling 911. Why would the mother go in and leave the kids though?? I know she would want to save her husband, but surely she could have at least told the daughters to call for help and wait for the police. I dunno just seems like there were a lot better options than what happened.[/quote]

This was a Mennonite family. If they are anything like the Amish, maybe they would not use any modern technology, including electricity and phones. Perhaps that’s why they couldn’t call for help.

I think most Mennonites use telephones, electricity, etc. like the rest of us. The amish are primarily the ones that don�??t

[quote]robo1 wrote:
I think most Mennonites use telephones, electricity, etc. like the rest of us. The amish are primarily the ones that don�??t[/quote]

You are correct.

Mennonites leave school after the 8th grade. They may not know about confined spaces and methane gas.

Plus, panic makes people do irrational things.

Tragic.

Hopefully knowledge of this family’s death can prevent others from dying some day.

– ElbowStrike

Darwin +5.

Mennonites -4.

Go Darwin!