FOMBELL, PA After a night-long effort involving more than 100 farmers and volunteer firemen, the body of a 22-year-old man was recovered yesterday from a 500,000-gallon tank of liquified manure, authorities said.
The body of David Cooper was sent to Pittsburgh for an autopsy, said Beaver County Deputy Coroner John Zurik. Cooper apparently fell into the uncovered tank by accident, he said.
Cooper was last seen around 11:30am Monday standing on the edge of the 25-foot-high steel structure as he and his brother, John Cooper, 26, prepared to work on the tank, according to members of the family. He was reported missing to the local authorities around 1pm.
Rescue workers drained approximately 450,000 gallons of the liquid by pumping it into mobile tanks supplied by local farmers.
Workers described the scene as "cold and miserable" and "quite a sloppy mess," made worse by Monday night's snowfall.
The death occurred on the Cooper family's 500-acre dairy farm near this Marion Township community. The tank is used to store a slurry of cow manure and water until the liquid can be spread on farm fields as fertilizer.