EVANSVILLE, Ind., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A Minnesota man was killed in a grain bin accident this week, becoming at least the third farmer to die in a silo this year.
Brandon Schaefer, 35, was working in the bin Tuesday morning, trying to "loosen up the frozen corn," according to the Stearns County Sheriff's Office, which responded to the accident.
Schaefer's parents called for help a little after 10 a.m. when they could not find their son and they believed he had fallen into the corn. Firefighters pulled Schaefer from the bin. He was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.
Schaefer was a sixth generation farmer and worked alongside his father at their farm in Albany, Minn., according to his obituary.
"He was very creative and loved woodworking, riding his Harley in the summer and spearfishing in his Grandpa's spear house," his obituary said. "Brandon was the happiest being with his friends."
Dozens of farmers die in grain bin accidents every year -- many in situations similar to the one that killed Schaefer.
Grain stored in a bin can stick together for a number of reasons, said Jeff Adkisson, a board member on the Grain Handling Safety Council. When that happens, farmers often enter the bin to manually break it apart. Without a safety harness, they risk being pulled beneath the grain and suffocating.
Since August, at least 21 people have died in silo accidents in the United States.