Worker trapped in grain bin rescued after 5 hours: 'I was trying to stay calm'
CLARK COUNTY, Ill. (WAWV/WTWO) — A man who was trapped inside a grain bin on Tuesday said he was trying his hardest to stay calm while rescuers worked for nearly five hours to get him free.
Jason Sluder has worked at Littlejohn Grain Inc. for the past five years. Part of his job includes cleaning out the grain bins — something he was doing on Tuesday when he came across a clump plugging up the bin.
To break it up, Sluder was walking on the beans.
“We were just trying to get a plug undone, and I went in trying to get the plug undone and it just sucked me down in it,” Sluder said. “Thank God I had somebody at the door watching,” Sluder added.
Luckily, there were no augers running — or any other mechanical equipment turned on — when he became trapped.
“We’ve got sump holes where the beans fall into,” Sluder said. “I was right in front of one of those whenever it broke free, it just filled the auger up and sunk me to the floor.”
As soon as the beans reached Sluder’s knees, he knew he was in trouble.
“It doesn’t take long,” Sluder said. “It was up to my upper thighs in a matter of seconds.”
Fortunately, he had two additional sets of eyes that day. One was a co-worker, who was inside the bin with him, stationed by the door. Another was outside, keeping watch on that door.
“[The worker in the bin] was actually looking at me and I told him, I said, ‘Get the boss,'” Sluder remembered.
Sluder’s co-worker remained in the bin with him until first responders arrived and took over life-saving measures. He tried to remain calm, even as he was feeling excruciating pain in his legs.
“Everyone was panicking, except for me, mainly,” he chucked. “Because I was trying to stay calm.”
“You’ve got to stay calm in situations like that, if not, it turns bad,” he added.
Rescue units worked for about five hours to free Sluder. He aided by holding onto the end of a grain vacuum, helping to maintain its suction to remove the beans surrounding him.
Sluder said most of his family was present when he was finally extracted from the bin, which was sometime around 3 p.m., Nexstar’s WCIA reported. He was treated on the scene before being transported to a local hospital, according to the outlet.
“I’m grateful for all of them,” he said of the people who helped save his life. “My co-workers, the first responders, the flight crew, just all of them. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here.”