Monday, May 21st, 2007
Woman survives burial in beans
By Shelley Grieshop
A 74-year-old St. Henry woman who became buried in a grain bin Saturday morning will celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary next month thanks to rescuers and a 5-gallon white bucket.
Marie Moorman, 4780 Lange Road, was sucked down into the large soybean bin on the family farm about 9:45 a.m. but was able to get some oxygen - although completely covered in soybeans for about 15 minutes - due to a bucket that ended up over her head.
Her husband, Tom, told The Daily Standard this morning that his wife was inside the grain bin on a ladder separating soybean hulls from the mix when the accident occurred. As she was putting the hulls in the bucket, a rope attached to the bucket dangled down and became stuck in the auger.
"She forgot about the rope, the rope went down into the auger, got tangled in her legs and pulled her in," Tom Moorman said.
His wife yelled for him, she told him later, but he couldn't hear her over the noise of the auger. When the rope caused the auger to stop - with Marie Moorman's legs about 21/2 feet above it - Tom Moorman climbed to the top to find his wife.
"All I could see was the bottom of that bucket. I called for her but she wasn't conscious," he said. "I thought she was dead."
He ran into the house and dialed 911, telling the dispatcher to "send plenty of men," he recalls. Instead of staying on the line to answer questions, he rushed back to his wife, he said.
"Nobody expected her to be alive by the time help got there," he added.
Firefighters and paramedics from St. Henry and a specially-trained rope team from Chickasaw Fire Department climbed the bin and pulled her out. Soybeans were stuck to every part of her body except her face, due to the bucket being on her head.
Tom Moorman said his wife doesn't remember pulling the bucket onto her head. Family members believe it just miraculously landed there when it was pulled down by the auger.
A trail of soybeans followed Marie Moorman's gurney to the emergency room at Mercer County Community Hospital, Coldwater. Maintenance crews were summoned to remove the grain from the floor so hospital staff could safely stand among the slippery debris, the family said.
To ward off pneumonia from the soybean dust, Marie Moorman continues to receive antibiotics. However, family members said it's possible she could be released from the hospital as early as today. Other than cautiously watching her breathing, medical concerns right now are minimal and she is in good spirits, her daughter Joyce Barga of North Star said.
"She got a scratch on her knee, that's about it," Barga said.
The family is extremely thankful for the quick response of their rescuers and the neighbors who arrived shortly after and continued the farm work until it was complete.
On June 13, the Moormans will celebrate 50 years together as a couple and now have an even bigger reason to savor the day.
"I'm just so thankful those men got her out so quickly. I thought I'd never get her back," Tom Moorman said.