Three sisters are dead after a farm accident ended their lives this week at their home in Canada. The sisters fell into the back of a truck containing canola seed and while that doesn’t seem like a life-threatening situation, this situation becomes a fight for life instantly.
According to the CKTB Newstalk on October 15, Glen Blahey with the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association explains why jumping into a pile of grains or seeds becomes a deadly situation in the blink of an eye. First of all the canola seeds are so tiny that they can fit through the hole of a ball point pen, says Blahey.
The canola seeds are smaller than other crops, so the girls sank faster than if they had fallen into another type of grain. What happened to the sisters is not a rare occurrence, as these incidents are reportedly on the rise. Four other people have died by suffocating in grain so far this year in Canada, including a boy, 14, and his grandfather.
Blahey explains that the grain acts like liquid as it flows around you when you fall into a pile of these seeds. You sink as they surround you and even if you face is not submerged, the pressure on your chest from this mass of seeds can stop your breathing.
Blahey said when you exhale your chest compresses in, but with the pressure of the seeds on your chest, it restricts you from taking another breathe in. This might not seem like the case because these seeds are so tiny and light, but they put much more pressure on your body than water does.
When someone falls into a pile of grains or seeds, you cannot just pull them out. An average size man can find himself buried up to his chest in a matter of 15 seconds. It would take 300 pounds of force to lift him out, according to Blahey.
If a person’s face becomes submerged, it is impossible to breath. These seeds act like quick sand, the more you move, the deeper you submerge. Your first instinct is to try and get yourself out of the pile of grain, but that movement just drags you down into the mass of seeds or grains.
According to People Magazine, on Tuesday Catie Bott, 13, and her twin 11-year-old sisters, Dara and Jana, died after falling into a truckload of canola seeds on their family’s farm. The family lives in the west-central part of the province near the hamlet of Withrow. Family and friends worked to free the girls and tried to revive them.
When the first responders arrived they continued with the life-saving efforts, but two of the girls were pronounced dead on the scene. One of the twins was critical and airlifted to an Edmonton hospital, where she died overnight.
Blahey wants more education around the hazard of seeds and grains. He wants the companies that sell the equipment for collecting, storing and shipping the grain to talk to the customers about the risks of “grain engulfment.” He also advocates for families to educate their children on the deadly dangers that this grain presents when in a pile, bin or truck.