FAIR OAKS, I.N. (WXIN) — A man from Indiana is dead after falling into a manure lagoon at a dairy farm in Jasper County, the local sheriff confirmed.
Robert Van Baren, 30, reportedly fell into the lagoon on Thursday morning after a piece of equipment he was using rolled in and became submerged, according to Sheriff Pat Williamson of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office.
First responders were called to the Windy Ridge Dairy farm at 8:37 a.m. after being alerted by other farm workers. Initially, the sheriff said first responders planned to pump the manure runoff out of the pond in order to locate Van Buren, but the process would have taken days. Instead, they sailed through the pond on a boat with a treble hook, which was eventually used to haul Van Baren out of the lagoon once he was found.
Van Baren was located just before 1 p.m., the sheriff said, more than four hours after he’d reportedly fallen into the lagoon.
Williamson said an excavator was used to retrieve the vehicle and the agitator from the lagoon.
Van Baren’s official cause of death was listed as blood loss, according to coroner Andrew Boersma. It has been ruled an accident.
A manure lagoon, also called an agricultural waste lagoon or anaerobic lagoon, is a waste-management basin used to hold and treat animal waste and wash water from livestock pens.