Home NewsAustralia Buried up to his neck in a grain silo, John thought: ‘I’m going to get bloody drowned’

Buried up to his neck in a grain silo, John thought: ‘I’m going to get bloody drowned’

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Buried up to his neck in a grain silo, John thought: ‘I’m going to get bloody drowned’

When John Lawson discovered himself as much as his neck in a grain silo on his central Queensland property, his first thought was, “I will get bloody drowned on this bastard”. 

“I do know what they’re able to doing … and after I say drowned, grain will drown you higher than water,” Mr Lawson mentioned from his hospital mattress.

The 78-year-old Baralaba farmer mentioned a “comedy of errors” made whereas emptying grain right into a truck on Thursday afternoon led to the life-threatening scenario.

Regardless of his speedy concern, Mr Lawson mentioned he knew that if he wished any probability of survival, he couldn’t panic.

“I mentioned to myself, ‘Hey outdated mate you have to hold in right here’,” he mentioned.

“It was contact and go however I’ve survived issues like that earlier than.

“If I might have panicked … it may have been completely different.

“That is the factor I at all times stress — in the event you’re in a nasty scenario don’t panic as a result of whenever you panic you do silly issues.”

Sucked into the void

When Mr Lawson was emptying the grain into the truck, he observed latest rain had triggered the grain to stay collectively and block the feed.

After a number of makes an attempt to unblock the grain from the bottom of the silo, Mr Lawson mentioned he used a ladder to climb as much as the highest and stepped onto the grain like he had completed many occasions earlier than.

“The man that was within the truck that had come to get the load of grain, he handed me a chunk of pipe about 2.5-metres lengthy and I reached over from close to the sting of the silo and I gave it a poke,” he mentioned.

Wheat with a silo in the background
Falling right into a grain silo whereas it is being unloaded will be deadly.(ABC Information: Greg Nelson)

The grain sunk a bit, so Mr Lawson stepped nearer in the direction of the centre of the silo and gave it one other poke.

“The entire thing simply collapsed as a result of there was an empty void in there from the place I might been digging beneath,” he mentioned.

“That vacant void, because the grain went in, simply grabbed me and took me in.”

Mr Lawson mentioned the person loading the truck had not realised he had fallen in, however it was fortunate the truck crammed up and the driving force turned the auger off.

“If the auger had have stored on going for one more 5 minutes I’d have been beneath the grain,” he mentioned.

“I used to be simply in that scenario the place the grain was on the degree it was at and when he turned the auger off and he heard me screaming he got here straight up on high.”

The driving force referred to as triple-0 and a rescue operation was launched.

“It did not appear that lengthy [before] there was ambulance automobiles by the oodles, there was mines rescue plus the police and so they assessed the scenario,” Mr Lawson mentioned.

Dangerous rescue

Queensland Ambulance Service officer in cost Vaughan Mason mentioned crews had been compelled to chop the facet of the silo to launch a number of the grain so Mr Lawson could possibly be freed.

“The primary precedence was getting him out of the grain and stopping the grain partitions from collapsing in on the similar time,” he mentioned.

“Grain could be very, very heavy.”

Mr Mason mentioned there was a number of threat concerned within the rescue effort.

“The extra we dug out, the extra the grain was collapsing round. There’s a number of strain in these tanks,” he mentioned.

John an older man with white beard and hair lying in a hospital bed, purple gown.
John Lawson, 78, says he thought he may drown within the grain.(ABC Capricornia: Erin Semmler)

Mr Lawson mentioned after an hour and a half within the silo, rescue crews managed to drag him out.

“In the direction of the final of it I used to be getting a bit toey, half-cranky … the cop mentioned, ‘You simply hold in there, we’re getting you’ and so they had been,” he mentioned.

“They did a improbable job, full credit score to them.

“They labored like Trojans to get me out.”

Mr Lawson was taken to the Rockhampton hospital in a secure situation with a leg damage, the place he stays.

Classes learnt

Trying again on the incident, Mr Lawson mentioned it was a reminder that irrespective of how assured you might be doing one thing, issues can and do go mistaken.

“What I did I can most likely look again and say, ‘Shit I most likely should not have completed that’,” he mentioned.

“You are able to do issues 5,000 occasions however there’s at all times one time that you simply do one thing that you may come unstuck. Does not matter what it’s.

“I’ve emptied hundreds of silos and I grew a number of grain and by no means had an issue, however the scenario was barely completely different.”

Mr Lawson mentioned three extra silos would wish emptying when he was launched from hospital, however he had learnt his lesson.

“I will not be stepping into them, I am going to get the crane.”

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