MERCER COUNTY, Ohio — Three brothers died Tuesday after they became stuck in a manure pit on a farm in western Ohio, according to reports.
Authorities identified the victims as Brad Wuebker, 35; Todd Wuebker, 31; and Gary Wuebker, 37, according to WHIO Channel 7. The men were taken to area hospitals and later pronounced dead.
St. Henry Fire Department Chief Matt Lefeld tells the Celina Daily Standard that emergency crews were called to a farm at 12:30 p.m. after the three men passed out in the manure pit. The men reportedly were performing maintenance on a manure pump.
The men were pulled from the pit by emergency workers. WDTN Channel 2 reports that authorities are not sure how long the men were in the pit.
WDTN reports a preliminary autopsy shows the men died by asphyxiation secondary to a farm accident.
Manure pits are common on large livestock farms and are used to store waste before it is used as fertilizer on fields. The Ohio State University Extension says gases in manure pits are highly dangerous and that a person can be overcome if they are not wearing proper respiratory equipment. Dangerous gases include ammonia, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and methane.
Some of those gases can lead to headaches, dizziness, breathing trouble and deaths, according to the OSU Extension.
Mercer County is located in western Ohio on the Indiana border.
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