A man trapped in a charcoal auger was successfully rescued this morning by members of both the Western Taney County and Branson Fire departments.
Western Taney County Fire Chief Chris Berndt said at approximately 4:45 a.m. his crews were dispatched on report of a man stuck in an auger at the Royal Oak Charcoal Plant in Branson. While the charcoal plant is located in unincorporated Taney County, Berndt said Branson Fire Rescue crews also responded to the call due to its proximity to the city limits.
Berndt said upon arrival to the scene they found a man with one of his legs completely inside the auger and his other leg half way inside.
“It was very clear that the only way to get the person out was to completely disassemble the auger that was kind of in the bottom of a big bin,” said Berndt. “So we called fire heavy rescue out so we could get more personal and particularly more tools to be able to disassemble all this. By using a lot of mechanics tools like impact wrenches and cutting tools we were able to completely disassemble that part, lower that auger down and eventually get the person out.”
In a press release, Western Taney County Fire officials said the extraction of the man was complicated due to the size of the machine, the charcoal that was still inside of the bin and the injuries the victim had suffered. The man was awake and talking to crews through the process, and was fully extricated around 7:45 a.m.
Berndt said the man was flown by Mercy helicopter to CoxSouth hospital in Springfield to be treated for his injuries.
“It was a long process, a lot of hard work and a lot of people,” Berndt said. “We had help from the maintenance personal there at the facility. They helped us to take it apart and made it possible to get him out.”
Berndt confirmed that the man was an employee at the charcoal plant. He said he did not know why the man the gotten into the bin and what led up to him getting trapped in the auger. According to the release, the cause of the accident is under investigation.
“This is yet another example of your Taney County Emergency Services working together to serve you,” stated the press release. “Four total agencies we able to come together and perform an extraordinary task. This speaks volumes to the relationships, skills, and resources that your emergency services share to better serve you.”
A total of 22 people responded to the call to rescue the trapped individual, according to Berndt.