A Wisconsin farmer and more than a dozen cows died in a freak accident on his family’s farm.
The dairy farm’s owner, Bob Biadasz, said that unusual weather conditions were to blame for the incident that killed his son, Michael Biadasz, 29, and 16 cattle.
Michael had cleaned the pit, which is about the size of a football field, hundreds of times, his father said. But this time, abnormal weather conditions prevented the deadly gases from dissipating.
Movement in the pit cracked a surface scum line that allowed gases to escape from the pit — about the size of a football field.
“There was no wind, it was a quiet, foggy, dewy morning, and there was also an upper air inversion,” Portage County Coroner Scott Rifleman said.
Methane and sulfur dioxide fumes are believed to be the cause of death.
The young man was found at about 6:30 a.m. by farm workers who had come to help empty the holding unit.
Sixteen cows also died on the farm near Amherst, Wisconsin.
“The family is devastated, absolutely devastated,” said Coroner Rifleman.
The father mourned his son by parking a line of machinery along a road that travels past the farm as a tribute – a blue tractor, red trucks, and his son’s black pickup truck
According to Opposing Views:
Following the tragic accident, many are calling for tougher regulations to be placed on manure holding tanks to prevent a similar incident in the future. According to All That’s News, the National Agriculture Safety Database says that there should be proper ventilation in areas where animals are stored and that warning signs must be posted nearby.
“In addition to adhering to proper construction and maintenance procedures for liquid manure storage facilities, owners should be encouraged to follow a few precautionary measures to protect both workers and livestock from harmful manure gases,” the NASD writes.
WASW reports that a similar unfortunate fate befell a Virginia family in 2007, when five of its members died as a result of a pipe blockage that caused a fatal buildup of methane gas.
Amherst is about 140 miles northwest of Milwaukee.
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