On Tuesday afternoon, three brothers—Gary, Todd and Brad Wuebker—were conducting maintenance on a pump inside a manure storage pit in Mercer County, Ohio, before someone reported all three of them had become unconscious.
While the cause of the deaths has not been released, the Kansas City Star highlighted that manure pits easily produce a range of toxic gases, and the chance that the brothers were exposed to such gases is highly likely.
As the manure piles up in the concrete pits, it can become a very deep and toxic pit to enter. According to the National Ag Safety Database (NASD), “there have been several instances where a farmer, family member, or employee has asphyxiated or succumbed to toxic gases from the pit.”
Hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide are the main pit gasses.