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Manure pit traps 3-year-old under barn in Pennsylvania — 'kind of like a quicksand'

Fire crews rescued a 3-year-old boy Saturday night after he plunged into a 10-foot-deep manure pit beneath a Pennsylvania dairy barn.
Fire crews rescued a 3-year-old boy Saturday night after he plunged into a 10-foot-deep manure pit beneath a Pennsylvania dairy barn. Chester County Rescue Task Force

A 3-year-old boy survived a harrowing accident Saturday when he plunged into a manure pit beneath a Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, barn, firefighters say.

The boy fell into the 10-foot-deep pit, below a dairy barn, while it was open for cleaning about 6:40 p.m. Saturday, according to WGAL.

Fire crews tried to reach the toddler but risked becoming stuck in the thick manure themselves, reported PennLive.

Firefighters pulled back to provide ventilation and to try to keep the boy, who was floating on top of the muck, calm while they awaited a special agricultural rescue crew, Honey Brook Fire County Deputy Chief Jake Bailey told WPVI.

"His whole body was sitting on the manure, so he was completely above the manure, but if he had moved around a lot, it would've been a different story," Bailey told the station. "The manure is kind of like a quicksand, the more you move, the more you sink."

Chester County Rescue Task Force members wearing dry suits and rope harnesses worked their way toward the toddler by laying plywood across the manure, similar to an ice rescue, reported WFMZ.

Once rescuers pulled the boy, who was awake and crying, from the pit, he was decontaminated and taken to a hospital with minor injuries, the rescue team noted on Facebook.

According to the Facebook post, it also took "a considerable amount of time" to decontaminate rescuers and their equipment.

Two deaths drowning in a manure pond, others squashed between vehicles — there's been an uptick in agricultural accidents. Dave Kearns, OSHA area director, talks about the need for safety training before tragedies happen.

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