Rescue team extricates Pa. man injured by 35-foot fall in silo Carroll firefighters hoist cable repairer after drop

October 15, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh and Ellie Baublitz | Mike Farabaugh and Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

A Pennsylvania man survived a 35-foot plunge inside a silo near Westminster yesterday, and was extricated nearly four hours later by firefighters who had to hoist him up and out by rope and basket.

Richard Lapp, 19, was repairing a cable at the top of the 70-foot silo at a 180-acre farm on Stone Road when he slipped and fell into hay and grass silage used to feed dairy cows, authorities said.

Lapp, who lives in Gap near Lancaster, Pa., was in serious but stable condition yesterday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, a hospital spokeswoman said. He was taken by ambulance to the Reese fire station and then flown by a state MedEvac helicopter to the hospital.

About 50 volunteers from Carroll County fire companies and a specially trained rescue crew worked to rescue Lapp.

"His main complaint from the beginning, when [rescue workers] reached him, was that his back hurt," said Capt. Steve Wantz, of Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company.

Donald Belt, who owns the farm northwest of Westminster, said Lapp was repairing a cable that raises and lowers the silo's unloader about 10 a.m.

Two members of the Carroll County Advanced Tactical Rescue Team rappeled into the silo to provide "first aid and monitor the air quality inside," said Lenny Yox, who directed the effort.

A ladder truck from Westminster was used to lower rescue equipment and to anchor ropes that hoisted the injured man.

From atop a ladder truck, firefighters assisted as the basket carrying Lapp emerged through the silo's top door and was lowered to the ground at 1: 40 p.m.

It was the ladder truck's first rescue since going into service Oct. 1.

Pub Date: 10/15/98

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