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Farm Mishap Claims Two Lives

By Staff | Jul 30, 2015

CYLINDER – A tragic farm accident Saturday afternoon claimed the life of a Cylinder area father and son. Palo Alto County Sheriff Lynn Schultes says 58-year old Gene Opheim and his son, 32-year old Austin Opheim died at the Palo Alto County Hospital following an incident northeast of Emmetsburg.

According to a release from the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office, a call was made to the Sheriff’s Office at 1:50 p.m. Saturday, July 25 reporting two males were submerged in a hog manure pump pit at 3268 510 Avenue. The Cylinder and Emmetsburg Fire Departments, along with two Emmetsburg Ambulance Service units from the Palo Alto County Hospital.

The two men were making repairs to the manure pit at the time of the incident. Austin Opheim had entered the pit to make repairs and was apparently overcome by gases contained in the pit. Gene Opheim then entered the pit in an attempt to rescue his son.

Upon arrival of sheriff’s deputies at the scene, 58-year old Gene Opheim of Cylinder was pulled from the pit and life saving measure began for him. Austin Opheim, 32, also of Cylinder, was extricated from the manure pit by firefighters and life saving measures began for him as well. Both men were transported by ambulances to the Palo Alto County Hospital in Emmetsburg where they both succumbed to injuries sustained in the accident.